by Brent Dirks
September 20, 2013
It’s official, the 64-bit A7 chip in the iPhone 5s is indeed made by Samsung. During a comprehensive teardown of the new handset, Chipworks was able confirm that the Apple freenemy is again behind another A-series chip:
We have confirmed through early analysis that the device is fabricated at Samsung’s Foundry and we will confirm process type and node later today as analysis continues. That being said, we suspect we will see Samsungs 28 nm Hi K metal Gate (HKMG) being used. We have observed this same process in the Samsung Exynos Application processor used in the Galaxy S IV. Our engineers will be deprocessing the Apple A7 as soon as they can to confirm this or to provide different information.Inaccurate speculation this summer focused on whether Apple would finally be able to stop depending on Samsung for its iOS device chips. Chipworks also has a more in-depth look at the new M7 motion processor that is designed to preserve battery life. After earlier teardowns today, some suspected that the M7 wasn’t a standalone chip but somehow contained inside the A7 silicon. But that’s not the case:
The M7 has been a difficult chip to locate on the board and rumors have been going around about the lack of a discrete M7 chip inside the iPhone 5S. All expectations up to now were pointing to a stand-out chip as seen below at the Apple Town Hall event. Luckily, we’ve been able to locate the M7 in the form the NXP LPC18A1. The LPC1800 series are high-performing Cortx-M3 based microcontrollers. This represents a big win for NXP. We had anticipated the M7 to be an NXP device based on input from industry analysts and our partners and we are happy to see this to be the case.If you’re interested in learning more about the technology that powers the newest iPhone, the report from Chipworks is a great place to start. They’ve also examined the camera sensor, Wi-Fi chip, and a number of other parts of the phone. And what a horror, they used a gold iPhone for the teardown. For other iPhone 5s news, see: How To Set Up And Use Touch ID On The iPhone 5s, The Latest On iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s Stock As Launch Day Continues, and Apple Said To Have Increased Gold iPhone 5s Production Following High Demand.