Chipworks

iPhone 7 model A1778: Intel modem confirmed, 1,960 mAh battery, “incredibly thin” A10 Fusion chip

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.

Teardown of iPhone SE finds hardware is a collage of 5s, 6, and 6s parts

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.

A9X teardown showcases Apple’s impressive strides in chip design

The fine folks over at Chipworks have provided the first up close and personal look at the A9X processor found inside of the recently launched iPad Pro. What it uncovered was yet another impressive design job, one that should, again, make Intel take notice.

Not only is the A9X extremely powerful, besting some laptop machines powered by Intel chips, but it’s also much bigger than the A9 processors supplied by both Samsung and TSMC that are found in the iPhone 6s.

The Motley Fool recently contacted Chipworks for insight into Apple’s newest SoC. What it found was a technical achievement that Apple’s designers should be more than proud of.

Analysis of ‘iPhone 6s’ logic board suggests improved NFC, 16GB base model and more

A leaked logic board has already offered a valuable insight into some of the many hardware enhancements in Apple’s upcoming ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’ refreshes. Thus far, we have learned about Qualcomm’s new baseband modem which doubles LTE download speeds, a slightly thicker enclosure to accommodate Force Touch sensors and possibly a higher-resolution Retina screen.

9to5Mac has teamed up with semiconductor experts at Chipworks in an effort to identify other chips and components based on images of an alleged iPhone 6s motherboard.

Here are their findings.

Apple Watch’s 28nm application processor is fabbed by Samsung, S1 chip is full of surprises

At the heart of the Apple Watch is Apple’s in-house designed ‘S1’ component that literally puts an entire computer architecture onto a single chip — an industry term you’re looking for is system-in-package (SiP) design.

A recent teardown analysis by ABI Research has managed to identify 512MB of RAM, an ARM-based CPU, a Broadcom Wi-Fi module, an accelerometer and gyroscope, along with a few other components, packed inside the S1.

Today, semiconductor experts over at Chipworks have updated their teardown of the S1 package with a few interesting tidbits related to the type of process technology used while revealing some rather unique design solutions making such small yet powerful package possible.

New iPhones use two accelerometers for better power management

Apple is using two accelerometers in both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Chipworks has discovered in its extensive teardowns of the two handsets. The first is the three-axis BMA280 accelerometer, made by Bosch, and the second is believed to be InvenSense’s six-axis MPU-6700.

Why two? Interestingly enough, Chipworks believes that Apple decided to go with two accelerometers to improve power management and overall user experience. The InvenSense is more sensitive, and can do more things, than the Bosch, but it also draws a lot more power.

Inside Apple’s A7: dual-core CPU, quad-core GPU, Secure Enclave has 3MB SRAM

Following their initial analysis of the iPhone 5s’s innards, silicon experts at Chipworks have now taken a closer look at the handset’s 64-bit A7 processor to reveal a number of interesting tidbits in their initial low-level chip analysis. Based on transistor-level images of the Apple-designed, Samsung-built package, Chipworks was able to determine that the A7 consists of a dual-core processing core and quad-core graphics, tentatively identified as the four cluster version of Imagination Technologies’s PowerVR Series 6, the G6430.

Apple, along with Intel, is of course an investor with a ten percent stake in Imagination Technologies, the UK-based fabless semiconductor maker. Chipworks also focused on a portion of the A7 chip called Secure Enclave where Apple says fingerprint profile is stored securely and walled off from the entire system, except the Touch ID circuitry…

Apple’s smaller A5 chip is still being fabbed by Samsung

As we reported Monday, a retooled version of Apple’s $99 set-top box has been found to have a die-shrunk version of the iPad 2’s A5 chip rather than the A5X package, as previously speculated. Some market watchers even thought the new package is fabbed on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) new 28-nanometer process. However, after conducting a thorough analysis of the silicon under sophisticated microscopes, chip wizards over at Chipworks and Silicon-IP have determined that the new A5 package is being fabbed on Samsung’s 32-nanometer process after all…

Chipworks takes a closer look at Apple’s Lightning cable

There’s been a lot of talk about Apple’s new dock connector lately. The company replaced its decade-old 30-pin connector with a new 9-pin Lightning plug in its latest round of iPhone and iPod refreshes last month.

Apple has reportedly added an authentication chip to its new cable to keep third party companies from making unapproved accessories. So the smart folks over at Chipworks decided to take a closer look at it…

Samsung-made A6 chip has dual ARM CPU cores, 3 PowerVR GPU cores, 1GB RAM

Apple claims the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the iPhone 4S (which is no slouch) in terms of processing and graphics power, thanks to the in-house designed A6 chip. You could even say that the A6 pushes the iPhone 5 ahead of competing smartphones, at least in Javascript and Geekbench tests.

The A6 is clearly a beast of a chip, not just in terms of sheer power but also in delivering the world’s first phone powered by ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU platform, completely customized to Apple’s needs. In addition to two CPU cores, the first diffusion image by UBM TechInsights has also showed three GPUs.

And now, repair wizards iFixit teamed up with chip experts Chipworks who put the A6 silicon under a sophisticated microscope. Here’s what we could glean from so-called “floorplans”…