Every iPhone 3G chip named, illustrated in detail

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,524member
    I was hoping for a Sony Felica RFID chip
  • Reply 3 of 36
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    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).
  • Reply 4 of 36
    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!
  • Reply 5 of 36
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    I thoroughly enjoyed this article; very informative. Thanks!
  • Reply 6 of 36
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    I thoroughly enjoyed this article; very informative. Thanks!



    You just like the geek porn.
  • Reply 8 of 36
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You just like the geek porn.



    I confess...I truly do!
  • Reply 9 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    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)
  • Reply 12 of 36
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    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)
  • Reply 13 of 36
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 36
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 36
    merdheadmerdhead Posts: 587member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    rasnetrasnet Posts: 37member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    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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