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iPhone Pr0n

It was only hours after the Apple (AAPL) iPhone went on sale that the first device teardowns appeared. The shortest but most comprehensive can be found here.

Here’s what we have, well summarized by Barron’s.

  • Samsung-produced NAND Flash memory, as well as a Samsung-produced ARM processor.
  • A Wolfson Electronics audio chip.
  • A Linear Technology (LLTC) USB Power Li-Ion Battery Charger.
  • A Marvell (MRVL) WiFi chip.
  • A Skyworks (SWKS) GSM/Edge Power amplifier.
  • A CSR Bluetooth chip.
  • An Intel (INTC) NOR Flash memory chip.
  • A Broadcom (BRCM) I/O controller.
  • A Texas Instruments (TXN) power management chip.

Apple clearly did some groundbreaking R&D on the software side of the product. I’m curious as to whether they spent as much time on the above components, or if they simply outsourced the hardware R&D, leaving the radio work to someone more experienced.

Much is being made of the ‘wins’ of the below suppliers. If Apple was smart, they built a device where their customization touched the fewest components possible, namely the Samsung processor.

I was surprised the NAND was not integrated in the ARM processor. We know from the iPod Nano that Samsung has this capability. My guess is that this was first gen and risk was already at a premium. Looks like Apple and Samsung are getting along well. It’s ironic that Samsung, the only phone maker with a prayer of matching Apple’s design prowess in mobile phones, is also a supplier of silicon.

I bet that iPhone 2.0, aside from having 3G (the deal killer for me) will be more integrated at the silicon level. But not integrated to the point where Apple loses leverage on their vendors.

I don’t write a lot of email on the go, though I do read and surf. I use a Blackberry Pearl and like it. The iPhone looks perfect. The thing I hate most about the Blackberry is EDGE data rates so dropping $600 on an iPhone doesn’t address my pain point. Call me when this thing has 3G and can sync to iTunes over the network.

Don’t know what Pr0n means? N00b


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  1. I had a Pearl with EDGE and traded it for an iPhone. The data speed is about the same, but the iPhone has seamless WiFi. As I walk down the street, it automatically picks up free WiFi and I must say it is AMAZING and as fast as broadband. At work and home, I also use WiFi (No need to even take the phone out of my pocket to get on or off WiFi), the youtube videos are higher quality (VERY high quality) when on WiFi.

    I would not wait for 3G, I don’t think Apple will take that route. Get on the wifi bandwagon, its the future.

    Posted by blah2000 | July 2, 2007, 5:29 PM
  2. iPhone is certainly not a failure, but no Wii or PS3. I visited 3 ATT stores today and all three have iPhones in stock.
    Poor souls that waited all day in line can barely get a 10% premium on eBay.

    I played with iPhone today. Being a long time Treo user, I had to make some comparisons. iPhone is all toy, a somewhat fun one, except EDGE is way too slow and no you can’t stream videos and drag around a webpage like the ads on tv. It’s SLOW!!!

    The keyboard really sucks. the predictive text is very distracting. Maybe can be turned off. I can type double to triple the speed on my Treo.

    Conclusion, data is too slow to make it a fun toy. Treo is all work/business side by side.
    iPhone does look awesome and the display is great.
    I predict $100 iPhones by Xmas 2007 on eBay.

    Posted by Ed Raker | July 2, 2007, 7:17 PM
  3. * thanks … now I don’t have to search around for this ;-)
    * I love tear downs.

    Posted by iain | July 3, 2007, 11:35 AM
  4. Andrew,

    I am curious if you think that Intel will push Apple to use the new super-tiny Silverthorne x86 chip to be produced in 2008 in a Gen2 or later iPhone?

    Although the iPhone doesn’t run a full version of Mac OS X, users would probably love have a more robust MacOS version and Intel’s vision for Silverthorne is precisely a Mobile Internet Device like the iPhone.

    Also, Intel says they can produce 2500 silverthorn processors on a 300mm wafer, so no problem meeting Apple’s needs.

    seems like the perfect fit, then again there might be power management and other issues.

    Posted by Jim | July 5, 2007, 11:46 AM
  5. Interesting thoughts on Intel…

    Relationship with Apple could play a role. Given Apple went full-hog on desktop processors it would make sense to use the same company for a mobile platform.

    The case against is pretty stark. Samsung has the ability to integrate flash into the processor. This is what won them the iPod contract and killed Portalplayer. Even though the current iPod does not use this I must imagine future ones will. I do not know if Intel has such capability. Anyone?

    BTW, I saw my first iPhone today. It was much better than I expected.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | July 5, 2007, 9:00 PM