On June 23rd, we were one of the lucky ones to actually have our iPhone delivered to us before the actual release date of June 24th. We went to work quickly dissecting the latest handset from Apple, and what we found was both interesting and surprising at the same time.
What was surprising? We knew that the Apple iPhone 4 was going to feature the same processor as the Apple iPad – the A4. What we were surprised with was how many other chips on the iPhone were also found on the iPad. Amongst them was a commonality in the choice of memory (both using the same Intel and Samsung packages) and the use of the same GPS and Bluetooth receivers from Broadcom.
What was interesting was the AGD1 3-axis gyroscope from ST Microelectronics (STMICRO). What does the future hold for iPhone applications now that programmers have a new ‘toy to play with’?
Apple's choice to bring a gyroscope into the iPhone 4G opens up many new applications that require accurate motion sensing. 3-axis of linear acceleration measured (provided by the LIS331DH accelerometer) combined with 3-axis of angular acceleration measured (provided by the gyroscope) can paint a pretty good picture of the movement and orientation of the iPhone. The gyroscope and the new CoreMotion APIs will give imaginative applications developers a new world of possibilities.
Waiting for the STMicroelectronics L3G4200D 3-axis gyroscope makes sense for Apple as that way the can stay with the same supplier for their MEMS inertial sensing (STM provided the accelerometer), and having a digital output simplifies the bill of materials (BOM). The on-chip ADC saves thinking about putting that function elsewhere on the PCB. Overall, having two sensing parts from the same manufacturer (similar apps engineers), both with digital output, simplifies Apple’s job of writing the APIs for their developers. Win-win for Apple .
Another design win for Infineon, as a peek inside this package revealed the X-GOLD 61x baseband processor. This processor has HSDPA/HSUPA capabilities of 7.2Mbps/2.9Mbps and the ability to connect to cameras with up to 5 MPixels like the one found on the iPhone 4G (the X-GOLD 618 version).
Decapping the 337S0626 revealed another major design win for Infineon. This isn’t much of a surprise considering that Infineon transceivers have been a staple of Apple wireless products going back to the original iPhone.
Taking a look inside this package revealed two die. The first being a Intel-marked NOR device (which now belongs to Numonyx) of 128 Mb and the second being an Elpida Mobile DDR SDRAM of 16MB. A similar two-die package was found in use on the iPad.
By examining the image sensor package and by comparing the die photo and specifications to our die image library, we have identified the 5 MP image sensor as the Omnivision OV5650 with backside illumination technology.
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