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Teardown reveals Samsung built A7 chip inside the iPhone 5S

Apple looks to its archrival for latest flagship smartphone
Tue Sep 24 2013, 16:52

THE DEDICATED ENTHUSIASTS whose favourite thing is taking apart the latest gadgets have wasted no time in setting to work on the iPhone 5S, and have made some interesting discoveries.

The teams at iFixit and Chipworks have collaborated on a complete teardown of Apple's latest flagship smartphone and its new chips - the A7 and M7 processors.

The M7 is the extra processor dedicated to constant analysis of the improved motion sensitivity sensors in the iPhone 5S. These enable the new range of fitness apps that Apple has promised. The M7 chip was surrounded in some mystery, but appears to be a standout chip made by NXP.

But more interesting is the identity of the A7 chip, the 64-bit system on chip (SoC) that runs the phone. The chipmaker that builds this monster, game changing chip? It's Samsung, of course.

Chipworks wrote, "We have confirmed through early analysis that the device is fabricated at Samsung's foundry and we will confirm process type and node later today as analysis continues.

"That being said, we suspect we will see Samsung's 28nm Hi-K metal gate (HKMG) being used. We have observed this same process in the Samsung Exynos application processor used in the [Galaxy S4]. Our engineers will be deprocessing the Apple A7 as soon as they can to confirm this or to provide different information."

In the strange and fast moving world of technology, nothing is impossible, and there is always room for a surprise or two, but we would have just loved to have been in the room when Samsung's president of consumer products found out that the president of chip development had won a contract to build the first 64-bit processor for its fierce smartphone rival. µ


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