Commack, NY -- A first look inside the Apple iPhone 3G shows TriQuint Semiconductor and Intel to be surprise winners, while Samsung, ARM, SST and old reliable Skyworks fill primary roles in the new design. More thorough analysis by TechOnline's Ottawa team on Friday will reveal other winners, including the providers of the phone's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS capability.
An early look inside the phone was provided thanks to the work of a team from iFixit that travelled to New Zealand from the U.S. to be the first to buy one and get a head start on the rest of the world. TechOnline product manager Greg Quirk caught up with the team and discussed their findings.
"The only thing [so far] that's in there that's really different is TriQuint," said Quirk. "No one predicted that." TriQuint provides at least three chips, the TQM676021 is an integrated 3-V linear UMTS Band 1 power amplifier (PA), duplexer and transmit filter module, with output power detector. It supports HSUPA operation with transmission data-rates up to 10 Mbits/s. Next is the TQM666022, a similar device, but for Band 2 operation. Finally comes the TQM616035 WCDMA/HSUPA PA-duplexer module for Band 5 and 6 (no datasheet available).
Apple 3G insides. Image courtesy of iFixit
(Click on image to enlarge)
While Quirk fully expected Spansion to be the provider of the NOR flash, it turns out it's 16 Mbytes from Intel, part number PF38F3050M0Y0CE. Another surprise came in the form of the Skyworks SKY77340 824- to 915-MHz quad amplifier module. "This is the same part used in the first iPhone," said Quirk.
For the main applications processor, it was originally thought that Apple went with an integrated approach that combined a Samsung ARM-based processor with 8 Gbytes of Samsung NAND flash memory. That's not the case. The ARM processor does come with on-board memory, but according to David Carey of Portelligent, it's 128 Mbytes of stacked, package-on-package, DDR SDRAM, also from Samsung. The main 8 Gbytes of NAND memory is on the back of the board and in this particular case came from Toshiba. "It could also come from Samsung, it's arbitrary," said Carey.
While 16 Gbytes in the top-end model may be plenty for many users, half a gigabyte can disappear for just one compressed movie, and with photos and MP3 files, Quirk sees that 16 Gbytes getting eaten up pretty fast.
Other vendors that won sockets include Infineon with its PMB 6820 (SMP3i) power management IC and SST with its SST25VF080B 8-Mbit serial flash chip.
Editor's Note: As TechOnline's sister group Semiconductor Insights decaps the Apple-branded chips tomorrow, more will be revealed. Tomorrow's follow-up story will include input from Portelligent's David Carey, who will also be taking a look inside in preparation for a full report that will start to be made available next week.
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