• iPad Main Board with IC Identification

    Welcome to TechInsights Apple iPad analysis page!  Check back here frequently as we update you with the latest findings from our series of analyses:

    Potentially game-changing product releases like the iPad are rare, but this Apple product release was significant to TechInsights as it was our first opportunity to apply the combined might of the new organization in a focused and coordinated effort for a major industry event like this.  The combined resources of the three founding companies along with the depth and breadth of our analytical capabilities and database of analytical data has extended our iPad analysis both vertically and horizontally, as detailed below.

    Apple iPad Teardowns

     TechInsights not only has the most detailed product teardowns in the industry, but also the most comprehensive library of completed work.  The iPad analysis will join the 1000+ reports already in place.

    Teardown analysis is a key element of Technology & Market Assessment in our IP Lifecycle Management Services.  The data gathered through teardown activities is also used in our business intelligence projects and important for Leveraging IP.

    When it went under the knife on Saturday, April 3rd in Austin TX, we immediately created a Quick-Turn Teardown report on the iPad. Quick-Turn product teardown analyses are abbreviated teardown reports that typically provide an Executive Summary, some disassembly sequence photos, and selected IC Board shots (click on the thumbnail above to see some of the major silicon identified by the QT Teardown). This type of report is provided to TechInsights licensees as a supplementary report; it does not substitute for our commitment to provide full teardown reports to the channels. If you place an order for the full product teardown of the iPad you will receive the quick-turn report immediately.

    The QT Teardown immediately answers questions such as which vendors have won key sockets in the design and gives our customers a head-start on competitive benchmarking against the iPad.

    Full Product Teardown of the Apple iPad

    When we pop the lid on the iPad for the QT Teardown the clock also starts for producing a full product teardown of the device.  If you’d like to see examples click here for: a series of excerpts from an Apple iPhone teardown analysis

    There has been a lot of speculation about the Bill of Materials (BOM) cost and potential profit margin for the various iPad models.  Far from a ‘virtual’ analysis, TechInsights full product teardown of the iPad provides a complete parts list and component count along with detailed cost estimates including manufacturing and packaging costs.  You can compare the Apple iPad with our huge library of historical analyses due to the consistent and rigorous methodology employed in capturing and documenting each device over the years.

    The iPad touts quite good working battery life for a back-lit LCD device… 10 hours operating and exceptional standby.  Our full product teardown will characterize the power consumption with real measurements in all phases of operation.  We will be able to prove/disprove the claims and with further analysis identify the innovations that contribute to reduced power consumption in the iPad.

    When we do a full product teardown all the major ICs are de-capped and we provide basic measurements and die photos.  Selected devices may be sent to our semiconductor analysis team for further work.  In the case of the Apple iPad, the A4 Applications Processor is extremely interesting and we plan to immediately start analyzing it, look below for the details.

    Silicon Analysis: Looking at the Apple A4 Processor

    Apple A4 Applications ProcessorWe have been tracking several generations ofapplication processor used in Apple consumer devices.  In the sidebar youwill find a quick comparison report showing how Apple has worked with Samsungand transitioned from standard silicon to proprietary products along the way. In the iPad we were hoping to see the benefits of Apple’s acquisition of PASemi Inc., a startup that had a particularly innovative approach to low-powerconsumption, high-performance processors.  Now it appears that Apple'sacquisition of Intrinsity may have more relevance, given that Intrinsity'stechnology required only incremental changes to the processor to gainsignificant improvement in performance.   

    We immediately began a Functional Layout II analysis of the iPad Apps Processorto give us a quick look at die markings, processnode, embedded memories and other key characteristics that help our analystsdetermine whether there is a major departure in architecture or otherinnovations from prior products.

    Subsequent to the FL II we have continued our investigationof the processor and Apple's relationship with Samsung as foundry andpartner.  We have recently discovered that Apple's A4 ARM Processor coreappears to be identical to the core used in Samsung's S5PC110A01 applicationprocessor (see the press release and comparison reportin the sidebar).

    We’ve done a number of other Applications processor analyses on Apple products in the past:

    Horizontal Slices of Data – Leveraging the Comprehensive Teardown Database

    IC Locator BCM4325

    If you have a particular device or module of interest that shows up in the iPad it is quite likely that we’ve seen it before. Over the years we have amassed a comprehensive database of ‘where used’ information gleaned from our teardown activities. TechInsights has some unique database tools to make it easy to identify down-stream products that contain a specific device or module:

    • The TechInsights IC Locator® Tool (click on the thumbnail for a larger image) allows customers to research the TechInsights product teardown library when they are looking for known ICs. The tool answers the question: "In which products has TechInsights seen this IC?"
    • The TechInsights Module Finder® Tool helps customers to search the contents of the "Modules and Odd Components" BOM tables from product teardown reports.   The tool answers the question: "In which products has TechInsights encountered this module or component?"

    Deeper Diving with Vertical Analysis of the iPad and other Consumer Electronics Devices

    We have an unparalleled analytical capability in semiconductors that positions us uniquely for vertical analysis of the Apple iPad.

    For semiconductor manufacturers or IP customers that have a particular part of interest for detailed competitive benchmarking, time-to-market acceleration or IP infringement analysis we can do CircuitVision analysis reports to develop a fully hierarchical set of schematics for a particular area of the device.  Here’s a (very) small sample of CV reports for ICs found in Apple devices:

    Contact us for Custom Analysis

    Custom Teardown Contact Us

       The additional resources afforded by the merging into TechInsights have removed constraints on custom teardown analysis.  If you have an electronics device you would like to have a detailed product teardown analysis for, or an interest in further analysis on any iPad device, or queries on any of the information presented here, please contact us.


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