SAN JOSE, Calif. Teardowns of the third generation Apple iPhone reveal a more integrated—and probably lower cost--handset thanks in part to new design wins for Broadcom and Toshiba. That's caused one analyst to quip the 'S' in the iPhone 3GS may stand for savings.
Elpida also made its first entry into the iPhone with the 3GS, with DRAM die appearing in two chip stacks. Elpida and Toshiba have supplanted Samsung as a supplier of flash and DRAM in the handset.
The iPhone 3GS arrived at Apple retail stories Friday morning (June 19) to lighter than previous sales.
"The biggest surprise in the iPhone 3GS is there are no Marvell Wi-Fi or CSR Bluetooth chips" that appeared in earlier iPhones, said Young Choi, senior manager of engineering at Semiconductor Insights who is doing a teardown of both the handset and major chips in it.
Apple opted for a Broadcom BCM4325 integrated 802.11abg and Bluetooth part already used in the iPod Touch, likely saving space and cost. The iPod Touch "now appears to be a leading springboard for new suppliers and integration in subsequent iPhone generations," said David Carey, president of teardown specialist Portelligent (Austin).
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Analysts are still cranking the numbers on Apple's costs of producing the iPhone 3GS. "It's lower than the first-generation iPhone 3G," due to reuse of many existing components and declines in memory prices, said Carey.
A video of Teardown TV's teardown of the iPhone 3GS is below. Teardown TV, Portelligent and Semiconductor Insights are part of TechInsights, the publisher of EE Times.