By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chip foundry, has set aside a research and development budget for this year of a record-setting $2.2 billion in order to ensure its fabrication process technology stays ahead of competition, said a report this morning in Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes. In 2015, the firm spent just $1.067 billion on R&D. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 17, 2016
Rumors continue to swirl that Intel had been commissioned to build LTE modem chips for Apple’s upcoming smartphone refresh, a marquee win for the semiconductor giant.
Tuesday, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported that Intel may supply up to fifty percent of LTE modems for the forthcoming iPhone 7 models.
Although Intel itself will package the modems, the chips will be mass-produced by contract manufacturers TSMC and KYEC, as per DigiTimes, indicating that the iPhone 7’s ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip may integrate an Intel-built LTE modem. These Intel-designed LTE modems for the iPhone 7 are said to be faster than those in the iPhone 6s. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2016
Taiwanese component makers are currently scrambling to fulfill orders as the Cupertino firm is getting ready to kick off production of this year’s upcoming iPhones and iPads.
Moreover, Apple’s engineers should now be close to completing work on a 2017 iPhone and have certainly been developing a 2018 iPhone for some time now.
Trade publication DigiTimes wrote in a new report that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), a foundry that builds chips for Apple, has now taped out an Apple-designed ‘A11’ chip that will power 2017 iPhones and iPads. Read More
By Anthony Bouchard on Apr 25, 2016
Just last week, Apple launched the second generation of its Retina MacBook lineup with a bump in CPU and SSD speed performance, as well as in battery life.
iFixit has now torn down the new 2016 Retina MacBook to reveal what kinds of hardware gems could be hidden inside of the very familiar aluminum enclosure.
Unsurprisingly, they have torn down the new rose gold-colored model. For the most part, a lot of the internals are similar, although there are a few tweaks to the design and internal hardware that users will love and hate. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 21, 2016
Shares of Qualcomm have dropped two percent after CEO Steve Mollenkopf told analysts on an earnings call Wednesday that it may lose some of its “biggest customers” as they are going with a “second source,” Bloomberg reported.
The fabless chip maker’s been Apple’s exclusive supplier of LTE modems for over three years now.
That’s about to change soon: Mollenkopf is now “assuming” that a major customer will give orders to a rival, indicating a potential loss of business for the company. Analysts said they think the customer is Apple and the rival is Intel. Read More
By Anthony Bouchard on Mar 31, 2016
Following the first day of availability of the iPhone SE, iFixit has gotten their hands on their own unit and has started their ritualistic practice of disconnecting every little screw, cable, and hinge that comes on it.
The iFixit teardown comes a day after Chipworks’ version, which revealed a lot of familiar parts in the iPhone SE that could be found in previous iPhone models, such as the 5s, 6, and 6s.
iFixit has not only confirmed these findings from Chipworks, but also provides some new insight about the iPhone SE‘s parts that is sure to interest its consumers. Read More
By Anthony Bouchard on Mar 31, 2016
The first legitimate hardware teardown of Apple’s new 4-inch smartphone, the iPhone SE, has been conducted by Chipworks. Apple just unveiled this new handset at its recent ‘Let us loop you in’ event alongside the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
The teardown finds that the iPhone SE is more than just a new generation of smaller iPhone from Apple, but that it’s actually a very clever device that takes the best from the performance world and combines it with the economics of older devices. This allows Apple to provide a product at a cheaper cost, but with similar performance.
As the teardown reveals, the iPhone SE is actually a Frankenstein of iPhone 5s, 6, and 6s parts that all work together to create a powerful 6s-like performance experience in a smaller 4-inch package. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 18, 2016
Fabless semiconductor company Broadcom is looking to phase-out its Wi-Fi chip-making business, according to industry sources who spoke with Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes. Broadcom is currently Apple’s top supplier of Wi-Fi chips used in Macs, iPhones, iPads and iPods so it looks like the Cupertino firm might be forced to find a new supplier soon.
Broadcom designs its own products but contracts out actual silicon production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), which also builds Apple-designed application processors for iOS devices. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 16, 2016
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), the world’s top semiconductor foundry, and ARM holdings plc, a British multinational fabless semiconductor designer, have joined forces to make an upcoming 7-nanometer FinFET process a reality in time for volume production in early-2017.
TSMC currently manufactures the iPhone 6s’s A9 chip on its 16-nanometer process, while Samsung-made A9 chips are fabbed on a smaller 14-nanometer process.
The timing of TSMC’s seven-nanometer FinFET process suggests it might be used to fabricate Apple-designed ‘A11’ processors for the iPhone 8 in 2017. By comparison, Intel has said it will produce 10nm node processors in the second half of 2017. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 4, 2016
Chip giant Intel has secured orders for a “significant portion” of cellular modems on Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7, according to a note CLSA Securities analyst Srini Pajjuri sent to clients, a copy of which was obtained by NDTV.
The current iPhone 6s generation uses Qualcomm’s MDM9635M LTE Cat. 6 cellular modem and the previous-generation iPhone 6 series is outfitted with Qualcomm’s MDM9625M modem so if this particular analyst is right, Qualcomm is set to lose some serious money should Apple dual-source cellular modems for the next iPhone. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016
The world’s most powerful government has locked horns with the world’s most powerful corporation in a battle that Apple implies has the potential to affect civil rights for a generation. As you know, the Justice Department gave Apple until February 26 to respond to its court order.
In it, the government is asking Apple’s engineers to create a special version of iOS that would allow brute-force passcode attacks on the shooter’s phone electronically.
Now, some people have suggested that the government’s experts could make an exact copy of the phone’s flash memory to brute-force its way into encrypted data on a powerful computer without needing to guess the passcode on the phone or demand that Apple create a version of iOS that’d remove passcode entry restrictions.
While this is technically feasible, the so-called de-capping method would be painstakingly slow and extremely risky, here’s why. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 19, 2016
A third-generation iPad Air will run an ‘A9X’ processor and an ‘iPhone 5se’ will be outfitted with Apple’s ‘A9’ chip, according to Bloomberg Bussinessweek’s profile of Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies.
“In March, Apple intends to announce an updated iPad and smaller-screen iPhone featuring the latest A9x and A9 chips, according to a person familiar with the plans, who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly,” reads a passage from the Bloomberg article. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 18, 2016
Bloomberg Businessweek has published an interesting profile of Johny Srouji, Apple’s silicon chief (official title: Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies), who joined the company back in 2008 to lead development of the A4, the first Apple-designed system-on-a-chip that made its debut in the iPhone 4 and the original iPad.
Apple is now widely praised by critics and fans alike for taking its chip destiny in its own hands. The article tells an in-depth story of how then CEO Steve Jobs had the foresight and courage to take Apple on a risky path to make it a fabless silicon designer.
Apple-designed mobile chips went on to differentiate iPhones and iPads on the hardware level from competing devices using off-the-shelf parts. The story also gives us our very first peek at chip-durability testing at an unmarked Apple lab in Cupertino. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 16, 2016
Korean publication ETNews is claiming that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 smartphone refresh will reduce electromagnetic interference by encapsulating major chips, including its application processor, into an electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding.
According to ETNews, key iPhone 7 chips such as the main ‘A10’ processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, cellular modems and RF chips will be protected by EMI shielding, which involves covering a chip’s surface with ultra-thin metal. Prior iPhones have used EMI shielding on the printed circuit board and the connectors to reduce electromagnetic interference. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 25, 2016
Apple’s allegedly upcoming four-inch iPhone refresh, that some people believe will be marketed as ‘iPhone 5se’, is said to include “variants” of the A9 system-on-a-chip and the M9 motion coprocessor, both of which are found inside the iPhone 6s, rather than the previous-generation A8 and M8 chips, according to 9to5Mac. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 10, 2015
Apple is making its GPU to cut the cord from Imagination Technologies and has been secretly developing its own GPU in-house for a few years now. That’s what a sketchy rumor published Thursday by Fudzilla contends, citing sources in the graphics industry.
An in-house-designed GPU would let Apple reduce the cost of its own mobile chipsets further. More importantly, such a move would help it advance the iPhone and iPad’s graphics capabilities beyond what Imagination’s designs (that Apple licenses) permit.
For end users, this should result in an even smoother iOS and flashier graphics in games (the overhyped term “console-quality” comes to mind) with more realistic special effects. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 10, 2015
Although the present-generation A9 and A9X processors are being built by both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) and Samsung, it appears that Samsung will be left out entirely from the lucrative contract to build the forthcoming A10 chipset for 2016 iOS devices.
Barron’s on Thursday cited analyst Bonil Koo with investment bank UBS as saying that all A10 orders will be exclusively handled by TSMC, posing a major problem for Samsung. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2015
Repair experts over at iFixit today pried open Apple’s new $169 Smart Keyboard case for the iPad Pro.
As you know, the Smart Keyboard is covered in Apple’s mysterious conductive fabric that actually connects the keyboard to the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector and allows for a “two‑way flow of power and data.”
But more important than that, the accessory is completely glued together, which makes servicing next to impossible. In fact, the Smart Keyboard files as one of the least repairable devices iFixit has ever analyzed so small wonder they gave it a repairability score of zero out of ten, ten being the easiest to repair. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2015
According to a teardown analysis of the Apple Pencil performed by iFixit, Apple’s optional Bluetooth stylus accessory for the iPad Pro packs in the smallest logic board that the repair firm has ever seen. Despite its minuscule appearance, Apple’s engineers had to fold it in half to fit inside the Pencil’s tiny enclosure.
As if that weren’t enough, the Apple Pencil is choke full of other radical technological solutions, said iFixit. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 17, 2015
Reliable analyst who have been calling for a refresh to the now discontinued four-inch iPhone 5c may have gotten one detail wrong: it sounds like the device, expected to be branded under the ‘iPhone 6c’ moniker, will run Apple’s A8 processor used in last year’s iPhone 6 rather than the latest A9 chip powering the new iPhone 6s.
That’s what Japanese blog Macotakara, which has a pretty good track record when it comes to Apple leaks, said this morning citing “credible sources” familiar with the device. Read More