Chipworks Reveals Details of Apple iPad Teardown

Chipworks, the world’s leader in reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis for semiconductors and microelectronic systems, announced its findings that Apple has followed the same approach that it perfected with its iPod and iPhone development by using conservative, lower cost technology, and focusing its efforts on design and usability. Essentially, the iPad’s very small board makes it a large iPod rather than a small personal computer.

Some highlights:

  • Apple is not using the do-all touch screen controller from Texas Instruments that it used in the iPhone 3G, instead Apple has gone back to the three chip solution seen in the iPhone 2G.
  • 16 GB of memory is provided by two Samsung K9LCG08U1M 8 GB MLC NAND flash memory chips. We also expect to see Toshiba design wins in future products under a dual-source arrangement for the memory.
  • The Apple A4 processor is packaged similarly to the Apple iPhone processors using package-on-package technology, the lower part for the microprocessor and the upper for the two DRAM die. The DRAM die are confirmed to be Samsung 128 MB devices.
  • The accelerometer design win was by STMicroelectronics, continuing its success with Apple devices.

Dick James, Senior Technology Analyst for Chipworks, commented, “Essentially, the iPad is an iPod Touch with an enhanced display and much increased battery life. The iPhone 2G-style touchscreen architecture perhaps reflects the date of design start, and we will likely see TI get the design win in the next generation iPad – especially as we have seen the same chip in the latest iPhone, iPod Touch, and Magic Mouse.”

About Chipworks
Chipworks is the recognized leader in reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis of semiconductors and electronic systems. The company’s ability to analyze the circuitry and physical composition of these systems makes it a key partner in the success of the world’s largest semiconductor and microelectronics companies. Intellectual property groups and their legal counsel trust Chipworks for success in patent licensing and litigation – earning hundreds of millions of dollars in patent licenses, and saving as much in royalty payments. Research & Development and Product Management rely on Chipworks for success in new product design and launch, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in design, and earning even more through superior product design and faster launches.