As shown in the past, Apple has a tendency to stay true to the semiconductor vendors that provide its products with parts. The Apple iPad Mini is no exception to this practice. Broadcom is the first major repeat design winner we see in the new iPad Mini.
Broadcom picked up three major design wins, two of which for their touchscreen controllers. The Broadcom BCM5976, which have been found in the iPad 3, the MacBook Air and the iPhone 5 has two sockets on the Mini. The other major design win comes for their four-in-one combo wireless chip, the BCM4334, which was also found in the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5. Below is an image of the Broadcom ICs we've analyzed using our de-encapsulation (decap) process:
Inside the Murata module containing the Broadcom BCM4334.
From a functional perspective, one has to wonder if Apple's decision to not use a retina-based display and a faster processor, like the A6 or the recently introduced A6X, was in line with their thinking of iterative improvements (i.e. giving people something to look forward to in the iPad Mini 2) or if it was a design decision as a faster processor and more vibrant display may put heavy demands on the 16.5Whr battery and jeopardize the characteristic of Apple products as energy-conserving electronics.
In terms of its design, the Apple iPad Mini takes advantage of Apple's previous design methodologies to create a product that Apple feels will address the growing consumer demand for 7-inch tablets. The Apple pessimist will point to the iPad Mini as half an iPad 2. But the Apple optimist will call the Mini a supersized iPod Touch. Consumers will decide if the $329 price tag is worth the spend.
Allan Yogasingam is a technical research manager at UBM TechInsights, owned by the same company that publishes EE Times, UBM plc.
Click through the following pages for images from the UBM TechInsights of the Apple iPad Mini.