Today and tomorrow are the big days. This blog will be updated as teardown photos are completed and images of the die start coming out of our labs. Unfortunately, we did have a bit of trouble on our server so a quick reinstall of our blogging software means we’ll be sticking to a pretty simple layout. But the reverse engineering details will be here for you to access before they are up anywhere else.
waiting in line, x-ray of the primary image sensor, starting work on the A6
Depending on the chips we find, we expect to cover several topics in some depth – including the A6, the touch screen controller, the RF front end chips, the image sensors, and the touch screen itself. They got the phone thinner, and if the touch screen is part of that story as we speculate due to a couple of recent Apple patents, then we’ll show that. For those who can’t wait, then the main patent of interest is #8,243,027.
Therefore, check back or follow @Chipworks or @ChipworksGary on twitter for up to the minute feeds. Gary comments on industry as well as our blog, while the corporate twitter handle is more for updates on the latest reports we have to sell – so you can choose which to follow.
With all that preamble, let’s start with the basic teardown. We have iFixit to thank for these images (since they camped out in Australia) and they are doing their usual great job taking you through the device step-by-step, we will focus on a straight forward list of the chip packages, until we start to get the chips out of their packages and under the microscope where we can really get inside technology.
First side of the board
- Murata 339S0171 WiFi module which, based on package markings should contain the Broadcom BCM4334 as well as Skyworks front end chips.
- STMicroelectronics L3G4200D 3 Axis gyro. For those who don’t follow such things, this device has design wins in all the major phones and is a real winner for ST.
- STMicroelectronics LIS331DLH (2233/DSH/GFGHA) ultra low-power high performance three axes linear accelerometer (ditto from above bullet)
- Texas Instruments 27C24S1 / 343S0628 touch screen controller. But also the Broadcom BCM5976 is also part of the touch screen controller interface. It was used by Apple in MacBook Air and was called a TrackPad controller. So the TI and BCM chip are working together to meet the needs of this new touch screen Retina Display. We have seen the multi-chip solution in the iPad but in the previous 2 generations of iPhone we saw a single-chip solution from TI. So this is an unexpected change.
- Hynix H2JT0G8UD2MBG NAND Flash. 16 GB.
- Apple 338S1131 Power Management IC. That is the Dialog Semiconductor PMIC, a manufacturer seen before in Apple phones.
- Apple 338S1077 Audio CODEC. This is a wafer-scale device by Cirrus Logic. They have long held this private-label package with Apple.
- Apple 338S1117 Cirrus Audio Chip
- The RF is a story in and of itself (and we will cover it that way in a follow-up post). For now on the right side of the board we see the Skyworks 77352-15 GSM/GPRS/EDGEPower Amplifier Module. Skyworks 77491-15B CDMA Power Amplifier, Avago 7813 Power Amplifier, Avago ACPM-5613 LTE band 13 power amplifier. Over on the left near the WiFi module the Skyworks 70631. Triquint 666083-1229 WCDMA / HSUPA power amplifier / duplexer module for the UMTS band and something with difficult to read package markings, suspiciously like RF Micro, the RF1102.
Second side of the board
- Apple A6 339S0177 Application Processor. More on this later.
- Qualcomm MDM9615 LTE processor. We have die photos of the QCOMM MDM9600_HG11-VK984 LTE processor. This may be the same die used on the iPhone 5 LTE processor. The MDM9600 and the MDM9200 are in the same product family (4G LTE) as the speculated MDM9615. Both the MDM9200 and the MDM9600 use the exact same devices: The LTE processor is the HG11-VK984 and the Samsung memory die that accompanies this processor is the 512M-I-MR. It is supported by the PM8018 Qualcomm RF Power Management IC that is part of the MDM96xx chipset (side 1 of the board).
Inside the A6 application processor – we are producing a report on this chip, but in terms of the package, we already have one interesting bit of information – in this phone anyway – on the DRAM manufacturer. We already knew that they would be multi-source on the memory, but the press photos and the press presentation gave us both Samsung and Hynix as suspected vendors. But with this phone we find Elpida 1 GB LPDDR2 DRAM. This is not a new part number, we have seen it before in the Droid Razer and others.
This page of the multi-part Apple iPhone 5 Analysis blog was updated on Sept 26 with the following new details:
The die we are looking at have all gotten out of the lab, so a closing update on the major silicon is in order. We already published this in various locations and in responses to media inquiries on the device, but it is time to close the door on this part of the analysis on the iPhone.
Audio chips from Cirrus. We know that Audience announced that they no longer have the noise cancellation and we were hoping we could get a little insight as to what is being done in the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, without a little more depth than a die photo can provide the best we can say is that Cirrus has two design wins related to the audio (one of which we originally guessed to be a memory MCP). One has some fairly large transistors and a whole lot of logic. If someone out there knows what the Apple package 338S1077 is we would be happy to report it. Starting here may be a good place.
On the subject of touch screen chips. As discussed above, we have a multi-chip solution this time around. The Texas Instruments 343S0628 chip that is basically the driver chip (we looked at the polysilicon die photo to see primarily analog drivers and limited digital logic). It works with the Broadcom BCM5976 the controller to form the system.
Analysis on Devices Discussed in this Teardown (confirmed only – this list will grow)
Other Pages in the analysis of the iPhone5
Page 1 – Initial Teardown of the iPhone 5