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Every iPhone 3G chip named, illustrated in detail

post #1 of 37
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Many have made guesses as to what chipsets are inside iPhone 3G, but research firms Portelligent and Semiconductor Insights have cracked the mystery and have explained each chip in one of the most detailed Apple product teardowns yet.

The examination reveals that the handset is indeed using an Infineon chipset for its GSM and 3G networking, though whether it's the same PMB8878 chipset mentioned in numerous leaks is unknown. Using a larger two-chip solution is unexpected, according to TechOnline analyst Allan Yogasingam, but may have been necessary for Apple to avoid falling victim to patent lawsuits by Interdigital that have plagued Qualcomm.

That's not Infineon's only win for the new iPhone, however. It also handles the power management and, more importantly, the GPS chipset. Apple uses a PMB 2525 Hammerhead II chipset rather than examples from SiRF and other common GPS chipmakers. The component is accurate to "within meters" and prevents major positioning errors in cities, where buildings can bounce the signal and miscalculate the phone's location.

The teardown also reveals that Apple has switched providers for the NAND flash memory that serves as permanent storage. Although Samsung has been tapped for large memory orders, it's Toshiba that is supplying the 8GB or 16GB of memory in each phone and uses a single chip for each 8GB of flash on the device. Samsung now provides only the system RAM.

"To see Toshiba makes me wonder if that [Samsung] deal is no longer in place," says Greg Quirk of Semicondutor Insights. "Does this mean that Samsung is playing second string to Toshiba?"





Many components remain the same. The Samsung ARM11 is still the iPhone's main processor, while Wolfson still provides audio through its own audio codec hardware even as it's rumored to be cut out of future iPods. These are signs that the iPhone 3G is "incrementalism at play" rather than an overhaul, says Portelligent's David Carey, even if Apple has learned from the iPod touch by consolidating everything into one board.

Other companies involved with the iPhone 3G include Broadcom for the touchscreen controller, Marvell for Bluetooth support, as well as Linear Technology, National Semiconductor, Numonyx, NXP, Skyworks, SST, ST Microelectronics, and Triquint.
post #2 of 37
1) I've read the sound quality through the headphones is much better. Are both new and old iPhone using the same Wolfson chip or is this one newer?

2) The mention of WCDMA/HSUPA is nice since the previous mention of the Inferion chips beign used did not have HSUPA capabilities. While HSUPA does nothing for my usage in the US right now it may help sell iPhones in other countries if this does mean that it has HSUPA.

3) "Uses a single chip for each 8GB of flash on the device." If the current 16GB model is really just 2x8GB chips sandwiched together, then in 6 months Apple could do an incremental update from 8/16GB to 16/24GB by using the same method. This is much better than having to wit an extra long time for Flash prices to fall for the denser, higher capacity chips.
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post #3 of 37
I was hoping for a Sony Felica RFID chip
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post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Marvell for Bluetooth support

This is not correct. Marvell supply the WiFi chip, Bluetooth is provided by Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR).
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post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

This is not correct. Marvell supply the WiFi chip, Bluetooth is provided by Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR).

Why do you Dumb Asses continue to go to this site, Boy Toy Genius & MacRumors to get your info.

IT'S ALWAYS WRONG.

Mod Edit: For those looking to take a temporary vacation from posting privileges, please look to this user for advice on how to be relieved of them. For the rest of you: please carry on. Thank you!
post #6 of 37
I thoroughly enjoyed this article; very informative. Thanks!
post #7 of 37

That's not Infineon's only win for the new iPhone, however. It also handles the power management and, more importantly, the GPS chipset.

Really? When was GPS more important than power management? I love Apple Insider for the news they post - but the errors, and sloppiness ruin it all.

As for your "Mod Edit:" up there: lets just say you should've acted more professional; admit you made a mistake, say sorry, and don't do it again.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

I thoroughly enjoyed this article; very informative. Thanks!

You just like the geek porn.
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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You just like the geek porn.

I confess...I truly do!
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipodrulz View Post

Really? When was GPS more important than power management? I love Apple Insider for the news they post - but the errors, and sloppiness ruin it all.

I think you taking the comment out of the intended context. Since the original iPhone obviously has a PM the info isn't a big deal, even if it is a new manufacturer. What is more important is that we finally see the GPS chip on the 3G MoBo. For example, I deem the ARM11 CPU to be unimportant for this article as it's the same one as before, but that doesn't mean it's unimportant for the device itself.

Quote:
As for your "Mod Edit:" up there: lets just say you should've acted more professional; admit you made a mistake, say sorry, and don't do it again.

He wasn't banned for pointing out a possible error in the article, it was calling everyone who reads and posts on AI "dumbasses". If you read his other posts, he was just itching to get banned. AI only has one rule: No personal attacks.
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post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipodrulz View Post

That's not Infineon's only win for the new iPhone, however. It also handles the power management and, more importantly, the GPS chipset.

Really? When was GPS more important than power management? I love Apple Insider for the news they post - but the errors, and sloppiness ruin it all.

As for your "Mod Edit:" up there: lets just say you should've acted more professional; admit you made a mistake, say sorry, and don't do it again.

You're mistaking two different concepts.

Power management is required to get the phone to work properly.

GPS is a feature that helps to sell the phone.

Without the needed features, power management will be managing something that just sits on the shelves.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

He wasn't banned for pointing out a possible error in the article, it was calling everyone who reads and posts on AI "dumbasses". If you read his other posts, he was just itching to get banned. AI only has one rule: No personal attacks.

What? No personal attacks? (bites fingernails)
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) I've read the sound quality through the headphones is much better. Are both new and old iPhone using the same Wolfson chip or is this one newer?

2) The mention of WCDMA/HSUPA is nice since the previous mention of the Inferion chips beign used did not have HSUPA capabilities. While HSUPA does nothing for my usage in the US right now it may help sell iPhones in other countries if this does mean that it has HSUPA.

3) "Uses a single chip for each 8GB of flash on the device." If the current 16GB model is really just 2x8GB chips sandwiched together, then in 6 months Apple could do an incremental update from 8/16GB to 16/24GB by using the same method. This is much better than having to wit an extra long time for Flash prices to fall for the denser, higher capacity chips.

8 and 16 would increase to 16 and 32 (not 24)
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You're mistaking two different concepts.

Power management is required to get the phone to work properly.

GPS is a feature that helps to sell the phone.

Without the needed features, power management will be managing something that just sits on the shelves.

You are missing the point.
The section you are discussing is not commenting on the actual features of GPS or Power Management it is say it is a WIN for the manufacturer because they are providing chips for both, i.e. more business than before.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

You are missing the point.
The section you are discussing is not commenting on the actual features of GPS or Power Management it is say it is a WIN for the manufacturer because they are providing chips for both, i.e. more business than before.

No. They said "more importantly".

I didn't discuss the features of GPS or PM either. You did read my post did you not?

MY point was referring to ipodrulz's post. He was the one who mentioned this at first. HIS point was that GPS was not more important than PM.

My response to HIM (not the article) was that I don't agree for the reasons given.

You want to get into more discussion? I'll gladly do that, but really, you first have to understand what is being said, and for what reason.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

8 and 16 would increase to 16 and 32 (not 24)

If they used one chip. As stated in the article, they use 2x8GB chips for the 16GB model, not a single 16GB chip. Hence my statement that they could upgrade the capacity outside the usually exponential increases if they use multiple chips together with a special controller. For example, one chip is 8GB and the other is 16GB, that appear to the end user as 24GB of Flash. Imagine how other cell phones having a small amount of built-in Flash and an SD slot so they can support, say, 8GB of Flash + the 128MB of Flash it came with.
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post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

2) The mention of WCDMA/HSUPA is nice since the previous mention of the Inferion chips beign used did not have HSUPA capabilities. While HSUPA does nothing for my usage in the US right now it may help sell iPhones in other countries if this does mean that it has HSUPA.

Those three chips are just signal amplifiers though. They're the analogue side of the picture. IIRC you also need a digital baseband processor capable of HSUPA and if they used the Infineon SGOLD3H processor they were rumoured to use, it's not capable of HSUPA, just HSDPA.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If they used one chip. As stated in the article, they use 2x8GB chips for the 16GB model, not a single 16GB chip. Hence my statement that they could upgrade the capacity outside the usually exponential increases if they use multiple chips together with a special controller. For example, one chip is 8GB and the other is 16GB, that appear to the end user as 24GB of Flash. Imagine how other cell phones having a small amount of built-in Flash and an SD slot so they can support, say, 8GB of Flash + the 128MB of Flash it came with.

The 16GByte 'chip' is actually 8 x 16GBit chips stacked on top of each other in a single package
- the 8GByte iPhone uses 4 of these chips stacked in a single package

The iPhone uses a single package, which limits its capacity to 16GBytes with current technology, whereas the Touch uses 2 such packages for a capacity of 32GBytes.

Stacking upto 8 chips in a single package seems to be the current limit in stacking technology.
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

Those three chips are just signal amplifiers though. They're the analogue side of the picture. IIRC you also need a digital baseband processor capable of HSUPA and if they used the Infineon SGOLD3H processor they were rumoured to use, it's not capable of HSUPA, just HSDPA.

I think the Infeon chips they use are "upgradable" to HSUPA, but as a practical matter it's not going to be possible to implement HSUPA on the phone as an upgrade. More likely similar chips with that feature implemented will find its way into the next version of the iPhone, probably in June next year.

Also, I might add that I am disappointed by all this abuse of AI and each other in this forum. It's shocking that people would be so rude and critical.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The teardown also reveals that Apple has switched providers for the NAND flash memory that serves as permanent storage. Although Samsung has been tapped for large memory orders, it's Toshiba that is supplying the 8GB or 16GB of memory in each phone and uses a single chip for each 8GB of flash on the device. Samsung now provides only the system RAM.

Is there any evidence to indicate that "each" phone uses the Toshiba memory? It's certainly conceivable that Apple doesn't wanna just throw in with one memory supplier on the iPhone.
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by rasnet View Post

Is there any evidence to indicate that "each" phone uses the Toshiba memory? It's certainly conceivable that Apple doesn't wanna just throw in with one memory supplier on the iPhone.

I agree here that Apple is likely using multiple vendors for flash. The recent Samsung contract, if true, could've just been one of many.

And I thought ifixit said it found an Intel NAND flash inside its iPhone.

A few years ago Apple did invest $250M in each of five NAND flash companies.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai1999 View Post

The 16GByte 'chip' is actually 8 x 16GBit chips stacked on top of each other in a single package
- the 8GByte iPhone uses 4 of these chips stacked in a single package

The iPhone uses a single package, which limits its capacity to 16GBytes with current technology, whereas the Touch uses 2 such packages for a capacity of 32GBytes.

Stacking upto 8 chips in a single package seems to be the current limit in stacking technology.

Right, and going to 32GBit chips today would be very expensive.

It seems to me that it would still be too expensive in Nov (i.e. pre-Christmas). I'm hopeful the cost will have come down enough by Feb, when Apple usually has its post-Christmas/post-MWExpo sales booster shot.
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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

I agree here that Apple is likely using multiple vendors for flash. The recent Samsung contract, if true, could've just been one of many.

And I thought ifixit said it found an Intel NAND flash inside its iPhone.

A few years ago Apple did invest $250M in each of five NAND flash companies.

It makes sense for Apple to use multiple vendors for the NAND flash, for continuity of supply & cost reasons.

The Intel Flash is a different chip
- the one they've labeled 'Nymonynx'
- which AFAIK is for code & scratchpad for the Baseband processor

BTW, according to the Toshiba web-site, they'll have their 32GBit part in production sometime this quarter, so it *may* be available for a fall-update for the iPhone/Touch
- I guess Apple would be very happy if they could get enough of it in time for Xmas...
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai1999 View Post

The 16GByte 'chip' is actually 8 x 16GBit chips stacked on top of each other in a single package
- the 8GByte iPhone uses 4 of these chips stacked in a single package

The iPhone uses a single package, which limits its capacity to 16GBytes with current technology, whereas the Touch uses 2 such packages for a capacity of 32GBytes.

Stacking upto 8 chips in a single package seems to be the current limit in stacking technology.

The article clearly states 8GB, while it can be wrong I have no source that says otherwise. As for my idea of building unevenly with different chips and then using a controller to aggregate them as single drive in software is a possible.
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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The article clearly states 8GB, while it can be wrong I have no source that says otherwise. As for my idea of building unevenly with different chips and then using a controller to aggregate them as single drive in software is a possible.

I think the article is wrong about there being two main Flash packages
- if you look at the iFixit tear down, there's only one..
http://live.ifixit.com/Guide/First-Look/iPhone3G

- the iPhone 2G certainly just has the one Flash package
- and the Touch two
- which is why the Touch can offer twice the capacity

Apple obviously decided that the iPhone was ok with less
- maybe for space reasons (i.e. it has a lot more to pack in)
- or for other marketing reasons.

And yes, they could offer sizes like 24GBytes if they wanted.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai1999 View Post

And yes, they could offer sizes like 24GBytes if they wanted.

They could, but I've not heard of anyone selling flash-based products that aren't simple powers of two, for example, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 is a series of doublings. Sizes in 3, 6, 12 and 24 GB are possible, but I've not seen it yet.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

They could, but I've not heard of anyone selling flash-based products that aren't simple powers of two, for example, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 is a series of doublings. Sizes in 3, 6, 12 and 24 GB are possible, but I've not seen it yet.

Current mainstream NAND flash production is 16Gbit (2GB) and 8Gbit (1GB). They can be packaged either as a single, dual, or quad die package, but they must all be of the same density. Up to 2 packages of the same density can then be stacked on eachother. So with quad 16GBit dual package you can get a max of 16GB in one physical package. These packaging limitations are why you always see a doubling effect and why I can't see how one could get a 24GB in a single package.

As was stated earlier Apple uses a variety of vendors for NAND Flash since even Samsung can't easily supply all of the memory required. The Numonyx win for NOR is fairly big as most people thought that would either go to Spansion or Samsung.
post #28 of 37
LOL @ 24gb and 48gb models.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post

These packaging limitations are why you always see a doubling effect and why I can't see how one could get a 24GB in a single package.

My original point was to not use a single package, but two, to allow for more frequent incremental capacity updates.
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post #30 of 37
I'm hoping, as the article stated, that this is just an incremental upgrade. Although, quite a good one. I still want a flip phone version.

The natural upgrade path is an iPhone with two cameras for video chat via iChat, but the 3G networks need to be available in more areas than they are now to support this feature. The AT&T network bandwidth upgrades were a start in this direction. I'm sure, if bandwidth were no issue Apple would have had iChat out with the first generation iPhone.

Oh and a 32Gb and 64Gb iPhone would be nice.
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post

Current mainstream NAND flash production is 16Gbit (2GB) and 8Gbit (1GB). They can be packaged either as a single, dual, or quad die package, but they must all be of the same density. Up to 2 packages of the same density can then be stacked on eachother. So with quad 16GBit dual package you can get a max of 16GB in one physical package. These packaging limitations are why you always see a doubling effect and why I can't see how one could get a 24GB in a single package.

For the iPod touch, it then currently has two quad packages, either two 16 Gbit or two 8 Gbit. They could therefore offer a 24 GB version. And in future, when 32Gbit packages become available, they could offer a 48 GB version. But I don't think they will.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

I think the Infeon chips they use are "upgradable" to HSUPA, but as a practical matter it's not going to be possible to implement HSUPA on the phone as an upgrade. More likely similar chips with that feature implemented will find its way into the next version of the iPhone, probably in June next year.

I am curious to see if Apple will be able to do single, once-a-year upgrades to iPhone hardware. The cell phone market seems to be on a brutal upgrade cycle and the iPhone's camera already suffers in comparison to many of its would-be competitors. I think that the fact that software can be easily updated buys Apple some extra time between hardware upgrades but think they may need to release new iPhones on something closer to a 6 month schedule.
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I am curious to see if Apple will be able to do single, once-a-year upgrades to iPhone hardware. The cell phone market seems to be on a brutal upgrade cycle and the iPhone's camera already suffers in comparison to many of its would-be competitors. I think that the fact that software can be easily updated buys Apple some extra time between hardware upgrades but think they may need to release new iPhones on something closer to a 6 month schedule.

Really. I think then everyone are gonna hate Apple for doing that. I think once a year is perfect. It makes a great hype and excitement for new customers. Apple doesn't have to follow the Mobile Industry rules, remember; it makes rules for it.

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post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Really. I think then everyone are gonna hate Apple for doing that. I think once a year is perfect. It makes a great hype and excitement for new customers. Apple doesn't have to follow the Mobile Industry rules, remember; it makes rules for it.


Memory upgrades are suitable for 6 month intervals, as long as memory is dropping in price, increasing in density, and using less power GB to GB.

Cpu's are also suitable for this, if Apple cares to go that route at all.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Really. I think then everyone are gonna hate Apple for doing that. I think once a year is perfect. It makes a great hype and excitement for new customers. Apple doesn't have to follow the Mobile Industry rules, remember; it makes rules for it.)

i think we'll see a tick-tock release, as Anand calls it, like we have seen over the past year. There was a capacity increase about 6 months after the original release, then 6 months later the iPhone 3G arrives. I think we can expect the same thing this year.

edit: Pipped by Melgross.
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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

i think we'll see a tick-tock release, as Anand calls it, like we have seen over the past year. There was a capacity increase about 6 months after the original release, then 6 months later the iPhone 3G arrives. I think we can expect the same thing this year.

edit: Pipped by Melgross.

(Hee hee!)
post #37 of 37
What about the accelerometers? Nobody talked about them. I guess they are the long metal-covered components? Who makes those???
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