Patent And Technology Partner To The World's Most Successful Companies

Patent And Technology Partner To The World's Most Successful Companies

Patent And Technology Partner To The World's Most Successful Companies


The New iPad: A Closer Look Inside

Launch day for the iPad 3 began very early as our team has been camped out at Best Buy in Ottawa since 3:30 am. We were first in line and our 4G unit made it back to the labs in no time at all. Yesterday we were lucky enough to be able to examine the high resolution images provided to us by our friends at iFixit via Melbourne, Australia. That opportunity allowed us to determine what was new and what was not. Our findings from that were that we have a whole lot of devices being recycled from the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPad 2.

5 Mp Back Illuminated CMOS Image Sensor

The 5 Mp CMOS image sensor is new to the 3rd gen iPad, but is it new to us? It is very likely that Apple has recycled the 5 Mp back illuminated CMOS image sensor from the iPhone 4. That unit was the Omnivision OV5650. The OV5650 is the second generation back illumination (BSI) technology from OmniVision.

(clarification added March 19, 2012 – this is second generation BSI-1 with noted improvements over the first BSI-1 sensor we analyzed. It does not have the full feature-set consistent with BSI-2 and OmniVision does not market it as such)

This 5 Mp camera features 1.75 µm pixels, and is designed to deliver DSC quality in a mobile phone application. The sensor supports 720p HD video at 60 fps and 1080p at 30 fps. Apple specifications for the new iPad also tout the same specification. So the analysis we have just completed . . . drum roll please . . . says that the 5 Mp back illuminated CMOS image sensor in the new iPad is the same, it is the Omnivision OV5650 (die markings OV290BF). Yet again, Apple is recycling as many devices as they can to produce this new iPad. This is a very smart technique that keeps their costs and technological risks low. Apple would have placed large orders for this camera to build the iPhone 4 and now again for the new iPad, so hopefully they are leveraging these volumes to get a low unit price per camera.

Chipworks conducted a full analysis of the OV5650 when it first appeared in the iPhone 4. We have an Imager Process Review as well as die photos on this device in the Chipworks Store.

Secondary Image Sensor

The secondary CMOS image sensor inside the new iPad is also a design win for Omnivision. This camera, the OV297AA, is a 0.3 Mp, 3.0 µm pixel pitch CMOS image sensor. Chipworks has seen this on the iPod Nano and the iPad 2.


The A5X in the new iPad was a bit of a surprise to us in that in previous iProducts using the A5 and A4 processors, that processor was configured in a package-on-package (PoP) assembly, whereby the LP DDR2 SDRAM sat on top of the A processor. In the new iPad, the A5X sits on one side of the motherboard and the twin Samsung LP DDR2 SDRAm (qty 2) sat on the other side of the motherboard. Of note is the recurring theme of Apple dual sourcing DRAM. The unit iFixit purchased in Australia utilized Elpida LP DDR2 and our unit utlized Samsung LP DDR2.

The A5X part number is APL5498 and the die markings repeat that same number as well. The balance of die markings indicate Samsung being the foundry for this processor (we really did not expect to see TSMC making the A5X, but one never knows). The A5x die measures 12.82  mm x 12.71  mm for an area of 162.94 mm². Compared to the A5 which measures 10.01 mm x 11.92 mm for an area of 119.32 mm². That is an increase in the die area by 36.5%! A fairly large increase to accommodate the dual-core CPUs  and quad-core graphics processor.  This indicates that Apple stuck with Samsungs’ low power 45 nm CMOS process. Our cross section is in progress now, so we’ll know soon enough when we can measure the contacted gate pitch.


We have confirmed that the A5X is indeed manufactured on Samsungs 45 nm LP CMOS Process. The measurements have been made and it’s in the bag. We show you here a general structure of the A5X.

Here is a more complete BoM table:

Component Manufacturer Item# Device Type
Apple 338S0987 (Cirrus Logic) Audio Codec
343S0561-A1 (Dialog Semi) PMIC
APL5498 (A5X) Dual Core CPU & Quad Core GPU
MD366C/A_Sec-Camera Omnivision OV5650
MD366C/A-Pri-Camera Omnivision OV297AA
Asahi Kasei AK8975 Electronic Compass
AVAGO ACPM-5904 Power Amplifiers
ACPM-5917 Power Amplifiers
ACPM-7792 Power Amplifiers
Broadcom BCM4330XKUBG WiFi SoC
BCM5973A1KUFBG Microcontrollers
BCM5974CKFBGH Touch Controllers
Fairchild FDMC6676BZ N-Channel FET
Intel 7990 Unclassified
Micron Technology MT29F1G08ABBDAMD-IT 1 Gb SLC NAND Flash
Murata PFBA Likely antenna diversity switch
SWUA Likely antenna switch
SPM Likely antenna switch
Parade Technologies, Inc. DP635 LCD Driver
Qualcomm MDM9600 LTE Processor
PM8028 Power Management IC
RTR8600 Multi band Transciever
Samsung K3P34E400E-XGC1 DDR2 SDRAM
Skyworks SKY77468-16 Front End Module(PA+Duplexer)
SKY77469-16 Front End Module(PA+Duplexer)
SKY65513 (pkgmrk .1 13) 2.5 GHz WLAN Switch LNA
SKY65404 (pkgmak .4 31) 5 GHz WLAN Switch LNA
STMicroelectronics L3G4200D Gyroscope Sensor
33DH Accelerometer
Texas Instruments 1BED8N Unclassified
1CLWI Unclassified
CD3240B0 Other Power Controllers and Drivers
QVP Power Management IC
TPS62260DRVR DC-DC Converter
Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB MLC NAND Flash
Triquint Semiconductor TQM7M5013 GSM/GPRS
Unclassified 1C15 Unclassified
BG_DL Unclassified
K4 Unclassified
QRD01 Unclassified
T7380 Unclassified