EE Times commissioned Semiconductor Insights to tear down the iPhone and dissect its innards. The key takeaways: Infineon (IFX) is the chip of choice; there are many shared iPod parts that made design easier; and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) brands a bunch of components to hide the names.
The first thing that strikes us as SI looked at the insides of the iPhone, are the number of Apple branded components,” said Quirk. That makes it difficult to discern what parts make up the iPhone. To get inside the chips, SI resorted to decapping, a process that involves immersing the chips in acid to dissolve the outer packaging and then manually scraping away any residual packaging material.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Samsung: Flash memory components.
Broadcom (BRCM): Details were scant on this part, but Semiconductor Insights noted the part “provides the I/O controller used for the video interface to the touch screen.”
Infineon: The chipmaker makes two of the Apple branded parts. Semiconductor Insights notes:
Infineon’s PMB8876 S-Gold 2 multimedia engine with EDGE functionality provides the iPhone’s baseband. The second Infineon part appears to be the GSM RF transceiver. Another component is the National Semiconductor (NYSE:NSM) 24-bit RGB display interface serializer. The other components are more difficult to determine, but it appears that one is a Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) power-management device, another is a multi-chip package with STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) and Peregrine Semiconductor die markings, and the third has no discernible markings aside from the characters “PMA19″.
Bob Faulkner, who writes TheStreet.com’s Telecom Connection (subscription required), says the choice of Infineon explains why the iPhone isn’t 3G yet. Infineon doesn’t support 3G yet.
The iPod cast and crew. Semiconductor Insights reports that Phillip, Samsung and Linear Technology (NASDAQ:LLTC) provide the iPhone components, which are also found in the iPod. Wolfson provides that audio codec.
Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL): Semiconductor Insights notes:
The new components include wireless connectivity and touch screen. The Marvell 88W8686 is a 90-nm WLAN device, the same die can also be found in the Wi2Wi 802.11 + Bluetooth System in Package Solution. The CSR BlueCore 4 ROM is a Bluetooth device that was also used in the BlackBerry Pearl 8100.
Balda: Handles the touch screen design. Word of Balda’s role leaked out in news reports last month.