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iPhone SE teardown reveals perfect mix of old and new parts

Posted: 04 Apr 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple? iPhone SE? Skyworks? NAND flash? Toshiba?

Retailing for as low as $399, an early teardown of Apple's iPhone SE has exposed relatively few components that haven't shown up in previous iPhone models. The latest components of the 4in smartphone include a power applier module from Skyworks Solutions Inc., a power management IC from Texas instruments Inc. and NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., according to Chipworks, an engineering analysis firm that conducted one of the earliest teardowns.

But the iPhone SE also features many parts that were spotted inside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models, according to Chipworks.

A9 processor

Figure 1: The Apple A9 processor, the same processor found in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Is found in iPhone SE. According to Chipworks, the APL1022 part number indicates it was manufactured by TSMC. (Source: Chipworks)

"There are very few new parts, but that hardly means there is no innovation," Chipworks analysts wrote in a blog about the teardown posted on the company's website. The blog goes on to say that finding "that just-right balance of old and new [parts], and at such a low cost, is no easy feat."

One device that is not new to the iPhone SE is the applications processor. Chipworks reports that the processor inside the iPhone SE appears to be the same A9 flagship Apple processor that was founding in the iPhone 6s.

Modem and RF transceiver

Figure 2: The Qualcomm MDM9625M modem and the WTR1625L RF transceiver next to it are also found in the iPhone 6s and 6S Plus, according to Chipworks. (Source: Chipworks)

The iPhone SE, announced last March 21, has been described as an iPhone 6S squeezed into the smaller body of an iPhone 5s. Another teardown, performed by iFixit, reported that aside from new colours, the iPhone SE looks nearly indistinguishable from an iPhone 5s in a side-by-side comparison.

The iPhone SE represents Apple's first attempt to release a lower cost handset to buttress growth in China and other markets amid slowing growth in the overall smartphone market. Reviews of the device, which hit store shelves on March 31, have generally been positive.

Power management IC

Figure 3: This chip, which Chipworks believes is likely a new Apple/Dialog power management IC, is one device not found in the 6s and 6s Plus. (Source: Chipworks)

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times





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