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iPhone 4 teardown reveals design reuse

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iPhone 4 teardown? application processor? SDRAM? MEMS? gyroscope?

Apple iPhone 4. Click to view the main logic board

The new Apple iPhone 4 could very well be called an iPad since it uses at least seven chips from the popular Apple tablet, according to analysts from UBM TechInsights that have done a teardown of the new smart phone. STMicroelectronics won a coveted design win for its MEMS gyroscope in the handset.

Like the iPad, iPhone 4 uses Apple's A4 as its application processor. However, it uses a version with twice the memory512MB of Samsung Mobile DDR SDRAM. Specifically the part uses the Samsung K4X4G643GB, a package-on-package stack of two 2Gbit die.

Design reuse is clearly a big focus for Apple these days. For example, the iPhone 4 continues Apple's use of baseband and transceiver chips from Infineon despite a highly competitive market for such chips. The handset also uses the same Dialog power management chip Apple put in the iPad.

The iPhone 4 also reuses several other iPad parts including a Broadcom Bluetooth FM radio combo chip (the BCM4329), Broadcom GPS device (the BCM4750) and Cirrus Logic audio codec (the 338S0589). The iPad and iPhone 4 also share in common two memory chipsa Samsung 256 Gbit NAND flash device (the K9TFG08U5M) and a combo device from Numonyx.

"If you are a supply chain guy negotiating for lowest price, you know these chips have millions of iPad sockets and now millions more for the iPhone 4," said Steve Bitton, a senior analyst with UBM TechInsights working on the iPhone 4 teardown.

MEMS gyro-equipped
At the launch of the iPhone 4 in June, Apple confirmed it was one of the first smart phones to use a MEMS gyroscope.

The iPhone 4 is the first to use the ST's L3G4200D three-axis MEMS gyroscope. UBM TechInsights confirmed the gyro is an ST part based on die markings. It offers digital output which eliminates the need for conversion circuits needed for devices that output analog signals.

"Going with the ST device makes a lot of sense since they also use an ST three-axis accelerometer," said Bitton.

The iPhone 4 uses the LIS331DH 3-axis accelerometer, another part in common with the iPad.

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