Following iFixit’s analysis of the components and internal layout changes in the iPhone 7 Plus, semiconductor experts over at Chipworks and TechInsights have performed a joint in-depth analysis of the chips in the 128GB iPhone 7 model “A1778” to identify the key integrated circuits at play.

The Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip is “incredibly thin,” Chipworks has discovered, thanks to TSMC’s InFO packaging technique resulting in a thinner package. Perhaps more interesting than that, the AT&T and T-Mobile edition of the handset indeed comes with Intel’s LTE modem inside versus Qualcomm’s that powers cellular connectivity in other hardware versions of the device.

What that means is that, because iPhone 7 models “A1778” and “A1784“ have an Intel modem inside which doesn’t support CDMA networks, these handsets cannot be used on Verizon and Sprint networks.

Specifically, Intel supplied a pair of RF transceivers (SMARTI 5 built on TSMC’S 28-nanometer process), the baseband modem and the power management circuitry (the X-PMU 736, part of Intel’s XMM 7360 platform). “We see Intel’s baseband modem PMB9943 and suspect this is the rumored Intel XMM7360 modem,” says Chipworks.


That’s in stark contrast to the iPhone 6s, which has a universal modem that supports most cellular networks. Qualcomm’s MDM9645M LTE Cat. 12 modem is present in all of the other carrier models of the iPhone 7 instead of Intel’s.

As for the battery, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 that Chipworks and TechInsights pried open has a 1,960 mAh, 3.8 V (7.45 Wh) battery that gives it two additional hours of performance compared with the iPhone 6 battery rated at 1,810 mAh, 6.9 Wh.

In comparison, the exploding batteries in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are 15.4 Wh, twice the size. The iPhone 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery that lasts an hour longer than that in the iPhone 6s Plus, a slight upgrade over the 2,750 mAh cell in the iPhone 6s Plus and a step down from a 2,915 mAh (11.1 Wh) one in the iPhone 6 Plus.


The firms have also confirmed that Apple’s A10 Fusion chip (part number APL1W24) in their unit was built by TSMC, confirming rumors that it’s being single-sourced from TSMC. MegaChips (formerly SiTime) supplied one of their MEMS clock circuitry commonly used in wearables and some game controllers.

A10 Fusion in X-ray vision.

The A10 Fusion package has a die size is of about 125 square millimeter and is “incredibly thin”, giving credibility to the reports that TSMC’s InFO packaging technique is being used. Similar to the low-power mobile DRAM in the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 7 uses package-on-package assembly which puts the A10 chip below 2GB of Samsung-built LPDDR4 RAM (the iPhone 7 Plus has 3 GB of RAM).


“Looking at the X-rays we see the four dies are not stacked, but are spread out across the package,” which helps keep the overall package height to a minimum. The combination of package-on-package assembly and TSMC’s InFO packaging technique helps reduce total chip height significantly.

They also found 128 GB of NAND flash (a 16-die stack of 128-Gb parts) with EMI shielding, fabricated in 15-nanometer process technology. Both SK Hynix and Toshiba have been identified as NAND flash suppliers for the new iPhones.

A10 Fusion die shot.

A Broadcom-provided GPS module (BCM47734) possibly contains Sensor Hub functionality that combines the GPS and sensors such as gyroscopes, barometers, accelerometers and others. Apple did confirm that the A10 Fusion has its own sensor hub. That said, if the Broadcom part used in the device does have a sensor hub “it may not be utilized here in the iPhone 7,” cautions Chipworks.


There are also three audio amplifiers (two in the iPhone 6s): two to drive each of the two speakers while the third could be for the headphone via the Lightning port.

On a somewhat related note, Tech Insights, Inc. and Chipworks have now combined their respective businesses to become a global leader in advanced semiconductor technology intelligence, analysis and reverse engineering.

Source: Chipworks

  • So, is it right to conclude that Verizon iPhone is the better, more superior phone vs. T-mobile iPhone?

    • Javiers

      Verizon service will always be better regardless of the phone.

      • Not talking about service quality here, rather the versatility of Verizon iPhone.

      • kinny james

        Yes, the Verizon phone is the way to go if you’ll want to use it on non-GSM networks. The Verizon model will work on both network types. The Att/T-mobile will only work on GSM out of the box. I’m not sure about getting it unlocked though. BTW T-mobile service is far superior than Verizon in NYC, so it’s all a matter of location and use. I get speeds that are way faster than Verizon.

      • Of the hardware does not physically support another network then I am afraid that the answer is that it would not be able to be unlocked:(

    • n0ahcruz3

      Nope because GSM>CDMA. And most countries uses GSM technology.

      • Most Asia is CDMA. So, your “most countries” claim is inaccurate.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Name these “most Asia”. I know SK and japan uses CDMa. Im asian, do more research there’s google.

      • How about the largest country in Asia called China?

      • n0ahcruz3

        GSm lol

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Reliance was the last CDMA operator in India; two months back, they started upgrading CDMA customers to 4G compulsorily… I had one of em’ CDMA phones with an integrated SIM card, which couldn’t be removed.

    • Jose Rivera

      The Verizon variant has always been my favorite because they’re all factory unlocked and support both network types… A huge plus for them…

  • Fede777

    What’s the reason they went with 2 different modems, instead of a universal one?

    • Well, for starters, they gain advantage in supply chain negotiations by having multiple suppliers for a component. I’d say that’s part of a broader move to Intel LTE modems across all iPhone models in the future. The ultimate goal, I suspect: eventually embed the baseband modem itself with any supporting logic into the A-series chips to save space and optimize power consumption

      • Fede777

        I get that, but when the 6 launched they were all about “world phone”, well not anymore.

      • That’s the limitation of the Intel chip. My guess is that Apple would have surely used a universal Intel modem if they provided it.

      • Rowan09

        But CDMA is not really a world standard GSM is, so I don’t believe this will be an issue.

    • Actually, these are world phones.

      From the FAQ section on Apple’s Buy iPhone 7 webpage:

      Can I use an iPhone when traveling internationally?

      All iPhone models are world phones, so you can use them almost anywhere. Whether you are a GSM or CDMA network customer, you can roam internationally on GSM networks in over 200 countries around the world. Availability of LTE data varies in some countries and depends on carrier support for certain LTE radio frequencies. Contact your wireless carrier for more information regarding international roaming policies and rates.

  • Imad Ghandour

    The battery capacity you listed for the for the iPhone 6s is wrong it belongs to the iPhone 6

  • Dao Sasone

    My question is when will the unlocked version comes to market

  • Shinonuke

    Aww too bad
    – From 6s T mobile

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