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Ever Wondered What's In An Iphone?

May 23, 2008
The Apple iphone components have been looked at by various hardware companies to see if anything is new or revolutionary about the iphone. After a quick search on the internet you will find various disassembly pictures of the iphone. These dissections reveal two circuit boards.

First, the smaller of the two, which has the handset's Samsung SSL8900 processor with 512Mb of on-board memory. It's accompanied by a Wolfson WM8758 audio codec chip.

The second board is home to a Marvell 88W8686 Wi-Fi chip and a CSR BlueCore Bluetooth controller. Cellular connectivity is provided by two Infineon chips, and the iPhone's display is controlled by a Nat Semi part.

Samsung provides both the 4GB and 8GB Flash chips found in the two versions of the iPhone, both of which also contain a smaller, 32MB Flash chip which also contains 16MB of SRAM to hold the code running on the CPU. There are a number of Apple branded components which make it difficult to discern what parts make up the iphone.

There were three parts with the Apple logo, and another four that seemed to have a numbering scheme similar to Apple's without any discernable manufacturer markings. These Apple branded parts included the Broadcom BCM5973A and a Philips designed part.

Infineon manufactures two of the six remaining unknown parts. Infineon's PMB8876 S-Gold 2 multimedia engine with EDGE functionality provides the iPhone's baseband. The second Infineon part appears to be the GSM RF transceiver. Another component is the National Semiconductor 24-bit RGB display interface serializer.

The other components are more difficult to determine, but it appears that one is a Texas Instruments power-management device, another is a multichip package with STMicroelectronics and Peregrine Semiconductor die markings, and the third has no discernable markings aside from the characters "PMA19".

Apple seems to be taking various components from the latest iPod and redesigning them for the new iphone as the components in the ipod and iphone have similar characteristics. The memory chip in the ipod used to store pictures, songs and videos is similar to the chip in the iphone. The Wolfson WM8758 audio codec is the same codec that was used in the iPod video, making the sound quality similar to what you experience from your iPod.

Parts from Linear Technology and Silicon Storage Technologies that are used in the ipod also bear a resemblance to parts used in the ipod. The Marvell 88W8686 is a 90-nm WLAN device, the same die can also be found in the Wi2Wi 802.11 + Bluetooth System in Package Solution. The CSR BlueCore 4 ROM is a Bluetooth device that was also used in the BlackBerry Pearl 8100.

Wireless connectivity and a touch screen are also included in the new component list. The touch screen has been designed by a German company called Balda - who are known for making touch screens durable and scratch resistant.
About the Author
Bryan Pilkington has a keen interest in all technological subjects. More information about the iphone can be found at http://www.iphone.eztips.info
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