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Here’s a bit of supply chain nerdery for you on the iPhone 5s front. Teardown experts Chipworks have uncapped Apple’s A7 processor and found that it’s certainly still made by Samsung.
There had been significant rumors before the release of the iPhone Fives that pointed to Apple moving its SoC manufacturing to brand-new supplier TSMC. Though that still could occur down the road, this certain chip is still made by massive partner, and Apple competitor, Samsung.
Chipworks on the discovery:
We’ve verified through very early analysis that the gadget is fabricated at Samsung’s Foundry and we’ll confirm procedure type and node later today as analysis ongoings. That being said, we think we’ll see Samsungs 28 nm Hi K metal Gate (HKMG) being utilized. We’ve actually observed this same procedure in the Samsung Exynos Application processor made use of in the Galaxy S IV. Our engineers will be deprocessing the Apple A7 as soon as they can to verify this or to provide different details.
The basic reasoning behind Apple moving to an additional supplier like TSMC for future SoC manufacturing is that the business is looking to diversify its sourcing. So far, most of its silicon has actually been acquired via Samsung and Qualcomm. While Apple has no beef with Qualcomm, it’s actually taken part in heated struggles with Samsung’s smartphone arm over patent infringement. Samsung is a massive company, and it’s actually mentioned that this legal wrangling doesn’t influence its relationship with Apple as a supplier. However you understand that tension has to sting a bit in arrangements.
In addition, diversification might enable Apple more take advantage of when negotiating costs for brand-new elements. An enormous part of Samsung’s present silicon company is done through handle Apple. It likewise offers a ton of chips to its own smartphone wing.
The Chipworks teardown likewise manages to discover Apple’s M7 ‘movement co-processor,’ also, which becomes a chip made by NXP and not an Apple branded part at all. At least, not yet.
Luckily, we have had the ability to locate the M7 in the type the NXP LPC18A1. The LPC1800 series are high-performing Cortx-M3 based microcontrollers. This stands for a big win for NXP. We’d anticipated the M7 to be an NXP device based on input from industry analysts and our partners and we’re delighted to see this to be the case.
The M7 is devoted to processing and equating the inputs provided to it by the discrete sensors, the gyroscope, accelerometer and electro magnetic compass mounted throughout the main printed circuit board.
The previously iFixit teardown of the iPhone 5 had actually fallen short to discover exactly what chip was handling the function of Apple’s ‘M 7″ advertising construct. This brought about some confusion and speculation that the chip was in truth on the A7 die. But the Chipworks folks have verified that this is an external chip which it’ll likely hook into a series of standard sensors from STMicroelectronics and AKM for compass, magnetometer and accelerometer responsibilities.
Be sure to head over to Chipworks to take a look at the remainder of the comprehensive breakdown if that’s your kind of bag.