There are different flavors of the iPhone 5. The model torn down by UBM TechInsights Friday (Sept. 21) was the A1428 model, optimized for the AT&T and Canada's LTE networks.
One of Apple's keys to success is their component selection. Under the direction of Tim Cook--then vice president of supply chain, now CEO--Apple developed supplier relationships from the very first iPhone that have only strengthened with every iteration of the handset. From a supply chain point-of-view, what this tells us is that Apple is relatively set in its partnerships with semiconductor manufacturers—making opportunities for those manufacturers not currently entrenched with Apple nearly non-existent.
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For example, 10 manufacturers that had design wins in the original iPhone hold the same socket in the iPhone 5. Larger semiconductor companies like Samsung Electronics, Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics supply a large portion of the iPhone 5's chips. Smaller companies like Dialog Semiconductor (provider of the main power management IC), Skyworks Solution (provider of the baseband power amplifier modules) and TriQuint Semiconductor (provider of the power amplifier modules) continue to gain massively with their socket wins inside the iPhone 5.
In fact, it is often major news when Apple does decide to replace a manufacturer on a key component selected for the iPhone. For example, it was newsworthy when Apple made the switch from utilizing Infineon-manufactured baseband processors to those from Qualcomm. That transition was made rather slowly, though, as Apple created a GSM version of the iPhone 4 using an Infineon baseband processor and a CDMA version of the same handset using Qualcomm's baseband chip. The switch to Qualcomm seemed imminent, as the IC selected for the CDMA version had GSM capability. To the surprise of few, the iPhone 5 continues to use Qualcomm baseband circuitry.
The iPhone 5 also heralds Apple's move into the 4G wireless landscape. Apple's latest handset is the first to incorporate LTE, matching the baseband capability of the third-generation iPad. Qualcomm has three design wins in the iPhone 5, all of them related to the company's LTE technology. The "crown jewel" of these ICs is the MDM9615. This device, manufactured at the 28-nm process node, is a mobile data modem that supports LTE (FDD and TDD), DC-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA, making it a truly global baseband IC--capable of functioning on any carrier. With the MDM9615 are the natural pairs of the PM8018 power management IC and the RTR8600 quad-band transceiver with GPS. All three are part of Qualcomm's LTE ecosystem and were selected because of their interoperability.
Qualcomm MDM9615 die marking (click on image to enlarge).