Apple iPhone 5 Suppliers: Winners And Losers

by: Todd Campbell

The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 era began with technophiles - like the teardown gang at iFixit - traveling down under to get first dibs on the new device.

The iPhone is powered by the mighty A6, made by Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and based on ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) ARMv7 set, which means Apple had plenty of flexibility to design the chip for its own specific needs.

As for memory attached to the processor, Apple appears to be spreading the wealth, given iFixit's device had RAM from Elpida while Apple's iPhone 5 launch party depicted RAM from Samsung. As always, memory remains so commoditized that investors should simply view makers cyclically.

Qualcomm remains a key winner.

The iPhone 5 continues Apple's reliance on Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Gobi family for baseband connectivity. Qualcomm has a few wins in the iPhone 5, including the 28 nanometer MDM9615M LTE, which powers both 4G and LTE operability, and the RTR8600 multiband transceiver, which paired with the MDM9615 supports all sorts of various UMTS, LTE and EDGE bands.

The real story here may not be that the 9615 saves space and consumes less power. It may be that its support of TD-SCDMA means it's more China friendly. The China specific alternative to the W-CDMA is used by China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), which controls 70% market share and has some 655 million wireless subscribers. Additionally, Qualcomm also supplies its PM8018 RF power management IC.

A lot of the same, with an exception or two.

While Invensense (NYSE:INVN) won the gyroscope in the Fire HD, Apple continues to stick with ST Micro (NYSE:STM), which supplies its L3G4200D and LIS331DLH to handle motion based GPS and gaming for its devices.

Murata provides the Wi-Fi, supplying its 339S0171 module. In prior Apple products, the Murata module used a Broadcom (BRCM) chipset and used Skyworks for the front end chips. But Murata also offers solutions with a Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) chipset too. Chipworks believes it's likely Broadcom's 40 nanometer, lower power BCM4334. We'll trust them until told differently.

But that doesn't mean TI was left out of the slot party. Sure, TI's presence is a fraction compared to the deep integration in the Kindle Fire HD, which I discussed more here.

But they do supply their 27C2451 touchscreen system on a chip, which works in conjunction with Broadcom's BCM5976 touchscreen controller to handle the "touch" aspect of the iPhone's display. For Broadcom, this extra chip seems to be a new win given prior generations sported the Texan solution solo. Why two chips instead of one? Likely to improve accuracy given the larger display and the use of a similar setup in the iPad.

There are all sorts of RF winners.

Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) may have suffered a punishing share price drop this week as analysts walked away from the company's investor day disappointed, but you can't fault Apple. The iPhone 5 sports a couple Skyworks chips, including the SWUA 147 228 RF antenna switch module and the 77491-158 CDMA power amplifier module.

Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) also got two slots. They're supplying their AFEM-7813 dual band LTE duplexer module, which provides filtering for band 8 and band 1, and their A5613 ACPM-5613 LTE power amplifier, for band 13 and band 14.

Triquint (TQNT) supplies its 666083-1229 WCDMA/HSUPA power amp and duplexer module for UMTS. And, according to Chipworks there's an additonal RF chip, which they hinted could be from RF Micro (RFMD).

And, some odds and ends too:

The audio codec went to Cirrus again. No surprise there. The 3.8V 5.45Wh battery is made by Sony (NYSE:SNE).

Corning (NYSE:GLW) will likely benefit from the larger display size.

Finally, as for whether it's the Omnivision (NASDAQ:OVTI) 8 megapixel sensor or one from Sony , the jury appears out. The two have been battling, with Omnivision capturing the business in the latest iPad and the prior iPhone 4 and Sony winning in the iPhone 4S. We'll have to check back in the comments section once we know for sure.

Overall, the basket of vendors remains pretty much as expected based on prior teardowns.

Volume will remain key for these suppliers, especially given Apple's market might remains bearish for vendor margins. But, with 2 million of these devices sold in the first 24 hours and a good chance for China unit sales growth thanks to the Qualcomm 9615, the volume alone could be plenty to send supplier shares higher through the holiday sales season.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in OVTI over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.