Inside the iPad: Samsung, Broadcom snag multiple wins
April 06, 2010 // Rick Merritt
The Apple iPad sports an unusually high processor-to-memory channel, an abundance of touch-screen silicon and a novel case design, according to a teardown report from UBM TechInsights, a sister division of EE Times. The report shows Samsung and Broadcom are among the major silicon suppliers in the system released to much fanfare Saturday (April 3).
Apple's A4 processor is the most significant chip in the iPad, and holds the biggest surprise found in the teardown. The chip sports a 64-bit path to main memory, twice the width of the memory buses used on Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices, "indicative of the need for richer graphics" in the iPad, said David Carey, vice president of technical intelligence at UBM TechInsights and author of the report.
Samsung also supplied NAND flash used in the 64GByte iPad Carey examined. Toshiba supplied flash in other models.
The iPad uses three touch-screen chips instead of one typically found in an iPhone or iPod Touch. Both Broadcom controllers used in past Apple systems—the BCM5974 and BCM5973—make an appearance here, along with a Texas Instruments analog chip.
The number of touch screen chips is "not all that surprising given the size and resolution of the display," said Carey.
A Broadcom BCM4329 combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip may also be used in the iPad, according to speculation from one on-line teardown site after seeing pictures released by the Federal Communications Commission.
Carey praised the unique stair-step pattern molded into the aluminum back panel of the iPad. It provides greater ruggedness for the case as well as a way to secure multiple subassemblies used inside the design.
Among other iPad design wins, Cirrus Logic had an audio codec, Carey said Linear Technology had two charger ICs and he speculated Dialog Semi had a power management chip.
Based on pictures from the FCC, the 3G cellular data board for the iPad "looks similar to what's in 3GS iPhone right now," Carey added.
Indeed, many of the chips appeared in versions of the iPhone and iPod. "They have done reuse wherever possible," said Carey.
The iPad Carey examined used a 1024x768 pixel LCD he speculated was made by Sanyo-Epson Imaging, now part of Sony. LG Electronics also provides displays for the iPad.
One non-technical conclusion Carey shared after tearing down the tablet: "I want one."
According to market watcher iSuppli, Apple could sell as many as 7.1 million iPads this year, though International Data Corp. estimated 2010 tablet sales at six million for the entire industry.
Dark clouds over lighting business: Osram announces massive job cuts
July 30, 2014
Amidst the decline of conventional illuminants like incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes, lighting manufacturer Osram ...
Trillion Sensor Summit program set for Munich
IoT: sensor fusion or confusion?
Next-gen HiFi competition takes place in the car
Rohde & Schwarz acquires IT security company
Pure lithium anode promises more efficient rechargeable batteries
July 29, 2014
Researchers at Stanford University claim to have designed a pure lithium anode that could lead to the prospect of smaller, ...
Is a room temperature superconductor possible?
High-temperature superconductivity discovery paves way for energy superhighways
BMW invoke fast battery chargers to spark EV sales
- New Linear Regulators Solve Old Problems
- Testing GPS with a Simulator
- DSM presents: Select the best plastic for DDR4
- Dual 13A μModule Regulator with Digital Interface for Remote Monitoring & Control of Power
InterviewCEO interview: China, not Apple, is way to go, says mCube CEO
Ben Lee, CEO of MEMS startup mCube, explains why he wants to spend $37 million on being a supplier of sensors to Chinese ODMs and avoiding a design win with Apple or Samsung.
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
This month, Altium Ltd is offering EETimes Europe's readers the chance to win one TASKING VX-Toolset for ARM Cortex-M Premium Edition, normally licensed for 2.395 Euros, for ultra-rapid prototyping and code development around ARM Cortex-M based microcontrollers.
The VX-toolset for ARM is the first TASKING compiler suite to receive the Software Platform technology, which is seamlessly...Read more
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.