Apple iPhone 6 Teardown

  • Apple iPhone 7 Teardown  

    This year's Apple iPhone release is not for one, but two flagship phones, the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Apple has finally moved its revolutionary iPhone device into the 4.7" and 5.5" mobile phone market. The iPhone 6 Plus is a competitive leap forward with such devices as the already released LG G3 and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 - Apple's toughest competitor, to be released in October.

    It is interesting how times have changed. Back in 2007 when the original iPhone was released with a 3.5" display, it was considered a "large" phone. As Apple's competitors started delivering devices with larger displays, Steve Jobs himself thought it unimaginable for an iPhone display to be larger than 3.5". (He would later introduce the iPhone 4 with a 4" display and a large smile).


    Figure 1: The Display Size Increases of the iPhone Through the Years


    Preliminary analysis of the iPhone 6 Plus estimates it costs $242.50 USD to build - an increase of about 15% more than the iPhone 5S. The estimated combined cost of Apple's new A8 processor and Qualcomm's MDM9625M modem account for $59.50 of the preliminary CoG, while the 5.5" display / touchscreen assembly costs another estimated $51.00. For the iPhone 6 the preliminary display / touchscreen cost about $41.50 with the iPhone 6 total CoG to be approximately $227.00.

    Both devices have an intricately made back enclosure which uses several pieces of extruded and machined metal work. We are estimating the cost for this piece on the larger iPhone 6 Plus to be around $15.

    The increase in build cost was expected considering the larger display, expanded cellular coverage, the addition of NFC, and a larger battery.


    Apple iPhone Comparison


    Figure 2: Cost Comparisons for the iPhone 5S, and Estimated Costs for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
    * Costs are based off of TechInsights Quick Turn estimates. The costs are likely to be different once full teardown analysis is performed. ** NAND normalized to 32 GB units.

    NFC + Secure Element + Touch ID

    During the Apple announcement on September 9, Apple's Eddy Cue mentioned a "..groundbreaking NFC antenna". did find an NFC IC with a secure element die, the NXP PN548 (click here for analysis), and we were able to identify with ease the Touch ID button. The NFC antenna, however, is still a mystery to us and we will put our updates on the new antenna design as soon as we can.

    What about the Sapphire?

    Rumors about a protective sapphire display glass cover turned out to be false. Sapphire was present on both devices but instead only covering the smaller areas of the Rear Camera window and the TouchID button like in the iPhone 5S.


    Apple iPhone Comparison   Apple iPhone Comparison  
    Figure 3: Sapphire on the Rear Camera Window and TouchID Button


    Camera Enhancement

    Apple has not increased the camera size in their iPhones since the iPhone 4S. Instead, Apple decided to keep the same size 8MP rear camera for both devices with some additional camera enhancements. With the iPhone 6 Plus, they also added optical image stabilization (OIS).

    Apple iPhone Comparison  

    Figure 4: Rear Camera

    iPhone 6 Plus - Board Shots




    Front Board Shot


    • Skyworks SKY77356-8 Power Amplifier Module
    • Avago ACPM-8020 Power Amplifier Module
    • RF Micro Devices RF5159 Antenna Switch
    • Avago ACPM-8010 Power Amplifier Module
    • Skyworks SKY77802-23 Power Amplifier Module
    • TriQuint TQF6410 Power Amplifier Module (possibly includes switch)
    • Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Power Tracker
    • Qualcomm MDM9625M Baseband Processor
    • Bosch Sensortec BMA280 3-Axis Accelerometer MEMS
    • InvenSense MPU-6700? 6-Axis Gyro and Accelerometer MEMS
    • Apple A8 / APL1011 Applications Processor
    • Micron EDF8164A3PM-GD-F 1 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM Memory
    • RF Micro Devices RF1331 RF Antenna Tuner


    Back Board Shot


    • NXP Semiconductor PN548 NFC Controller w/ Secure Element Chip
    • Apple / Texas Instruments 343S0694 / ? Touchscreen Line Driver
    • SK Hynix H2JTDG8UD1BMS 16 GB NAND Flash
    • Broadcom BCM5976 Touchscreen Controller
    • Qualcomm PM8019 Power Management
    • Murata 339S0228 WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac / Bluetooth / FM Radio
    • Apple 338S1251-AZ Power Management
    • NXP Semiconductor LPC18B1 M8 Motion Co-Processor
    • Murata 221 NU ? Receive Antenna Switch w/ Filters
    • Qualcomm WFR1620 GSM/CDMA/W-CDMA/LTE Receiver
    • Qualcomm WTR1625L GSM/CDMA/W-CDMA/LTE RxD Transceiver
    • Apple 338S1202 Audio Amplifier
    • AKM Semiconductor AK8963C Electronic Compass
    • Bosch Sensortec BMP280 Barometric Sensor


    Qualcomm makes their appearance in a few places, but not as a total RF solution. The baseband support for both Apple iPhone 6 devices is from Qualcomm's Gobi Modem product line- the MDM9625M, with RF transceiver and RF receiver roles being supported by their WTR1625L and WFR1620 ICs respectively. The only other RF support we see from Qualcomm is with their power envelope tracking IC, the QFE1100. As for the other RF functions such as the RF antenna switches and power amplifiers, Apple once again uses multiple manufacturers like RFMD, Murata, Avago, and Skyworks. Based on our quick analysis, this is the same RF design strategy Apple used on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and iPhone 5C. looked inside the iPhone 6 Plus, and found what appears to be a new NXP's NFC controller - the PN548. We took it a step further and verified there was indeed an additional die within the component as we have seen in the PN547.

    One other notable observation - we found a 6-axis InvenSense gyroscope and accelerometer sensor. In the iPhone 5S model we had noted these functions were split between two manufacturers, STMicroelectronics and Bosch Sensortec. In the iPhone 6 Plus, STMicroelectronics was missing, replaced by the new InvenSense part while Bosch is found supporting a 3-axis MEMS accelerometer function. As we progress through the full Deep Dive, we will try to understand the need for the additional accelerometer.

    Apple iPhone Comparison  

    Figure 7: Qualcomm Gobi MDM9625M Baseband Processor

    The announcement of the A8 processor was expected since Apple releases new processors simultaneously with their new phones. The A8 is smaller than its predecessor, the A7, and also has an NXP LPC18B1 M8 motion co-processor just as the A7 was supported by an M7 co-processor.

    Apple iPhone Comparison  

    Figure 8: Apple A8 Processor

    A Short Summary to an Interesting Day

    The preliminary BOM costs for the new Apple flagships range from $227 to $242 - understandably higher than the past iPhones. The estimated cost for the iPhone 6 is higher than Amazon's 4.7" Fire Phone which we believe to be around $216 USD.

    Unlike’s analysis of the Amazon Fire Phone in July where Qualcomm was the clear winner for IC design and socket wins, the Apples do not have such a clear distinction. Memory packages were split between two manufacturers, SK Hynix and Micron; Broadcom won the Touchscreen controller space again with their BCM5976; RF design wins went to multiple players, and even the sensors were split, although Bosch did win two spaces with an accelerometer and barometric sensor design.

    Our team of analysts have provided costing on mobile and personal electronics for 15 years and an overview of our costing methodology can be reviewed here. The above Figure 2 segments the costs into the relevant systems, such as memory, display, battery, connectivity, and more. It should be noted this is our initial cost, over the next several weeks, we’ll cost each discrete technology, chipset, filter, etc. and this will be published in our Mobile Device library.

    Comparing Specifications: Apples to....

    Samsung is Apple's largest competitor, and both are facing tough competition from Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi. We are scheduled to do further a quick turn analysis on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to be released in October as well as trying to coordinate the same for the Xiaomi Mi4 LTE phone once it is release.

    iPhone Features Comparison

    Apple iPhone Comparison