Infineon a big winner in iPhone teardown

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.

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TOPICS: iPhone, Mobility
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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

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6 comments
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  • A bunch of groveling rodents

    They can't innovate so they resort to stealing ideas, like rats rummaging through the
    trash.

    They don't even give credit where credit is due. The big winners aren't the chip
    makers, but Apple's innovative engineers who do all the hard work that you bozos
    take for granted.
    YinToYourYang-22527499
    • Do you live in the real world?

      Reverse engineering is a normal part of what is done with competitors products. There is nothing new with the I, how it is packaged and the user interface are new. I heard nothing in the article that indicated anything negative about the I. Are you feeling insecure that it didn't show the phone as being all new and unique internally?
      Every new and major release is back engineered to see what has been done.
      desamuelson
      • The Real Fake World

        "Reverse engineering is a normal part of what is done with competitors products."

        -Yah, and so is, protecting your components from cheeseeaters.

        If apple is smart, they made this thing with parts they contracted each from a separate manufacture, and redesigned slightly to confuse bastards like you.

        Oh... You would LOVE to build an Iphone on a breadboard wouldn't you. Carry it in your pocket?

        Apple really deserves Kudos, if you rat-astbards are trying to copy this thing.

        One thing is for sure: Even if the components of this thig could be figrued out and reproduced, you would not be able to build as cool a thing... Not in a thousand years of trying. So stop, trying.
        XweAponX
    • just like any other brand around

      from car makers to computer makers... but I suppose you want musicians to give
      credit to the brand and type of instruments they use to make a song...
      Non-Zealand
    • Many people place older engines

      in newer kit cars as it's tried and true technology: why re-invent the wheel if you can't make it better?
      John Zern
  • Haha!

    "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."

    Haha! Mac has been doing stuff like this since forever. Choice! I hope all attempts to reverse engineer this thing fail in utter miserability!

    Ahahaha!

    Mac probably licenced the chips from someone who has the schemetics locked in a secret vault.

    Cheer up... Maybe in a couple of years, a disgruntled Apple employee will steal the plans, and sell them to you.
    XweAponX