A7 processor used in iPhone 5s manufactured by Apple's arch-rival Samsung

Despite being engaged in a global patent battle, Apple and Samsung are happy to work together on a major component for the new iPhone 5s.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Following the unveiling of Apple's new flagship iPhone 5s smartphone there was a great deal of speculation as to who would get the job of manufacturing the silicon. While Samsung has manufactured all existing iOS processors, the increasingly vitriolic patent was between the two companies led some to believe that the Cupertino giant would want to distance itself from the South Korean giant. 

Die of the A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s
(Source: Chipworks/iFixit)

However, a teardown of the chip carried out by Chipwork in conjunction with iFixit shows that Samsung continues to be Apple's go-to company for processors.

While the hardware might have come from Samsung, the A-series processors uses in iDevices are all based on Apple's reworkings of ARM silicon.

"We have confirmed through early analysis that the device is fabricated at Samsung's Foundry and we will confirm process type and node later today as analysis continues," said a Chipworks spokesperson.

"That being said, we suspect we will see Samsung's 28 nm Hi K metal Gate (HKMG) being used. We have observed this same process in the Samsung Exynos Application processor used in the Galaxy S4. Our engineers will be deprocessing the Apple A7 as soon as they can to confirm this or they can provide different information."

So it seems that while Apple and Samsung are happy to have patent battles that span the globe, the two are also willing to work together on a major component for Apple's flagship product line.

Chipworks has also found the elusive M7 processor which iFixit missed in the initial teardown. The chip was found hiding under a neoprene cover on the mainboard.

M7 coprocessor in the iPhone 5s
(Source: Chipworks/iFixit)

According to Chipworks the M7 coprocessor is an NXP LPC18A1 chip believed to be based on an ARM Cortex-M3 core, and is used for realtime processing and translating of the inputs provided to it by the gyroscope, accelerometer and electromagnetic compass.

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