Infineon a big winner in iPhone teardown

Summary:EE Times commissioned Semiconductor Insights to tear down the iPhone and dissect its innards. The key takeaways: Infineon is the chip of choice; there are many shared iPod parts that made design easier; and Apple brands a bunch of components to hide the names.

EE Times commissioned Semiconductor Insights to tear down the iPhone and dissect its innards. The key takeaways: Infineon is the chip of choice; there are many shared iPod parts that made design easier; and Apple brands a bunch of components to hide the names.

The report notes the following:

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.

Here's a look at the key players inside the iPhone (

gallery left, review).

Intel and Samsung: Flash memory components.

Broadcom: 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 24-bit RGB display interface serializer. The other components are more difficult to determine, but it appears that one is a Texas Instruments power-management device, another is a multi-chip package with STMicroelectronics and Peregrine Semiconductor die markings, and the third has no discernable 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 provides the iPhone components, which are also found in the iPod. Wolfson provides that audio codec.

Marvell: 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.

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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