With the Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5 now on sale and consumers flocking in droves to buy it, it may be sensible for some investors to take a look under the hood and consider the iPhone 5 component manufacturers. Thankfully, the good people at iFixit and ChipWorks performed teardowns that show the guts of this instantly successful device.
First up, Sony (SNE) makes the battery. The iPhone 5 battery is 3.8V - 5.45Wh, while the 4S had a 3.7V - 5.3Wh battery. Talk time should not be much different, at an estimated 8 hours on 3G, though standby time is estimated to be about 225 hours, or one-eighth longer than the 4S battery. Additionally, ChipWorks found that the iPhone 5's new 8-megapixel camera is powered by a Sony image sensor.
The iPhone 5 is powered by the A6 chip that Apple based on ARM Holdings (ARMH) ARMv7 set. The A6 chip is made by Samsung (SSNLF.PK), which is also Apple's main competitor in the smartphone market, with Samsung's smartphones running Google's (GOOG) Android.
The iPhone 5 has numerous components, by multiple manufacturers. Many of these, if manufactured by a publicly traded company, are listed below:
- 77352-15 GSM/GPRS/EDGE power amplifier module and a 77491-158 CDMA power amplifier module, both by Skyworks Solutions (SKWS);
- 666083-1229 WCDMA / HSUPA power amplifier / duplexer module for the UMTS band by Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT);
- AFEM-7813 dual-band LTE B1/B3 PA+FBAR duplexer module by Avago Technologies (AVGO);
- PM8018 RF power management IC and MDM9615M LTE modem by Qualcomm (QCOM);
- L3G4200D (AGD5/2235/G8SBI) low-power three-axis gyroscope and a LIS331DLH (2233/DSH/GFGHA) ultra low-power, high performance, three-axis linear accelerometer by STMicroelectronics (STM);
- 339S0171 Wi-Fi module by Murata Manufacturing (MRAAY.PK);
- 27C245I touchscreen SoC by Texas Instruments (TXN);
- BCM5976 touchscreen controller by Broadcom (BRCM); and
- An Audio chip made by Cirrus Logic (CRUS)
Do note that the last two listed components are both touchscreen controllers, with one made by TXN and one by BRCM. Broadcom's BCM5976 chip is also used to control the trackpad in Apple's MacBook Air. The reason that the iPhone 5 may require two touchscreen controllers may be because the screen is larger than prior iPhones, though it could also be in an effort to improve the precision and sensitivity of touch.
As for memory, Apple may be diversifying its suppliers. The iFixit teardown showed RAM from Elpida, while Apple's iPhone 5 launch event showed RAM from Samsung. Other RAM makers, such as Micron (MU) are likely also in the mix. Chances are that Apple wants multiple options for RAM, a significant commodity in modern technology products. Additionally, Apple may be interested in reducing its reliance upon Samsung for RAM, and possibly other components in due course.
The iPhone 5 continues to uses Qualcomm technology from QCOM's Gobi family for connectivity. Beyond the PM8018 RF power management IC, QCOM components include a 28 nanometer MDM9615M LTE that powers both 4G and LTE connectivity, and a RTR8600 multiband transceiver to support ancillary networks and bands such as UMTS and EDGE.
Qualcomm's newer MDM9615M modem is not only smaller than its predecessor, but also supports TD-SCDMA. This new inclusion is a significant one, because the TD-SCDMA standard is used by China Mobile (CHL). China Mobile is the largest Chinese mobile operator, with over 650 million mobile customers, and had not previously entered into an agreement with Apple. A deal is now likely forthcoming, which could effectively triple the iPhone market in China. It is this new addition that could be the largest volume expander for both Apple and its many component suppliers.
Disclosure: I am long SNE.