Teardown of Verizon’s Apple iPhone reveals chips used. Want to know how many and which ones? Want to see the video teardown?

One of the most anticipated product rollouts of the year is already happening this week—the Verizon CDMA version of the Apple iPhone—and two organizations have already done us the great favor of tearing a sample phone apart and enumerating the significant chips found inside. The two organizations are UBM TechInsights (affiliated with EE Times) and ifixit.com. And you know what? They seem to have torn apart slightly different versions. The UBM TechInsights teardown lists the following component chips:

  • UBM TechInsights teardown IC list:
  • Apple A4 Application Processor
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power-management IC
  • Cirrus Logic CLI1495B0 Audio Codec
  • 343S0499/F761586G Apple/Texas Instruments touch screen controller
  • Skyworks SKY77711-4 CDMA/PCS power amplifier module
  • Skyworks SKY77710-4 dual-mode CDMA/AMPS power amplifier module
  • Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband controller IC
  • Samsung K9FG08U5M single-package memory subsystem
  • ST Microelectronics’ AGD8 3D gyroscope
  • ST Microelectronics’ LIS33DLH 3-axis accelerometer
  • Cirrus Logic CLI1495B0 Audio Codec
  • Dialog D1815A power management IC

The ifixit.com teardown lists the following chips:

  • Apple A4 Application Processor
  • Qualcomm PM8028 power-management IC
  • Cirrus Logic CLI1495B0 Audio Codec
  • 343S0499/F761586G Texas Instruments Touchscreen controller
  • Skyworks SKY77711-4 CDMA/PCS power amplifier module
  • Skyworks SKY77710-4 CDMA/AMPS power amplifier module
  • Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband controller IC
  • Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 16 GB NAND Flash
  • Toshiba Y890A111222KA
  • RS KMOD16104

Whichever list is correct, there are some really interesting things to learn from these teardowns. First, whether it’s 10 chips or 12, the Verizon version of the Apple iPhone is fairly far away from a 1-chip phone. The iPhone is awash in processors, residing in several chips including the ARM-based Apple A4 application processor first seen in the Apple iPad and the Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband controller, which also contains an ARM processor plus several DSPs. I doubt that the phone will reach a 1-chip design even with 28nm (or 20nm technology) because the process technologies required for digital, analog, memory, and power components is so widely varied.

Next, you can be sure that there’s some multi-chip packaging going on here. There is in nearly every phone these days and it’s unlikely that the Verizon version of the Apple iPhone is any different.

These teardowns illustrate one of the central ideas behind the EDA360 vision. That idea is the interconnectedness threading through a complex design like an Apple iPhone from chips to packages to boards. The design of the Verizon CDMA version of the Apple iPhone illustrates how one design team made the many tradeoffs among pre-designed chips (ASSPs), custom silicon, IC packaging alternatives, and board space. It’s a complex, multidimensional problem that takes a lot of design automation to simultaneously converge a design at all three Realization levels: System, SoC, and Silicon. The immense success of the many Apple iPhone flavors testifies to the effectiveness of the decisions made by Apple’s design teams (not to mention the cool package from the industrial designers).

Now, here is the Ifixit.com video teardown for your amusement:

About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at https://eda360insider.wordpress.com/)
This entry was posted in ARM, EDA360, Silicon Realization, SoC Realization, System Realization. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Teardown of Verizon’s Apple iPhone reveals chips used. Want to know how many and which ones? Want to see the video teardown?

  1. Dick James says:

    Hi Steve,

    You’re right – iFixit and UBMTI did tear down different versions of the phone. You missed out a digit in the Samsung memory – looking at the UBMTI photo, it’s a K9PFG08U5M, which translates to an eight-die, 256-Gb flash package, so a 32-GB iPhone.

    The Toshiba flash in the iFixit phone is a 128-Gb memory, so a 16GB phone. Apple quite often dual-sources the flash for their phones.

    Strangely, UBMTI did not list the Toshiba Y890A111222KA that iFixit noted, even though it’s shown in their picture. (Likely a DRAM + flash MCP).

    The Qualcomm MDM6600 is a dual-chip MCP with separate RF and logic dies inside.

    Regards,

    Dick

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