What's inside Apple's iPhone 5?


Posted at Sep 21 2012 12:12 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2012 11:39 PM

MELBOURNE/SAN FRANCISCO - Apple's iPhone 5 uses chips from Qualcomm Inc, Avago Technologies Ltd and Skyworks Solutions Inc, according to repair firm iFixit, which pried one open. 

The latest iPhone, which first went on sale in Australia on Friday morning, has a larger, 4-inch screen and is slimmer and far lighter than previous models. 

Apple Inc  booked over two million online pre-orders for the device in the first 24 hours, underpinning investors' expectations the new device will maintain the Cupertino, California company's meteoric growth. 

Other companies supplying parts for the new phone include memory chipmaker SK Hynix and radio-frequency chipmaker Triquint Semiconductor Inc , according to iFixit, which stripped down one of the new devices in Melbourne. 

The device also included a gyroscope, used to track the phone's orientation, made by STMicroelectronics as well as controller chips from PMC-Sierra Inc  and Broadcom Corp. 

News that a supplier has been chosen -- or rejected -- for one of Apple's products can sometimes cause drastic swings in stock prices. But Apple doesn't disclose which companies make the components that go into its smartphones. 

iFixit co-founder Luke Soules spent the night lined up at a local store to buy one of the first iPhone 5s. 

Fueled by Red Bull energy drinks to keep himself going, Soules rushed the phone to a nearby Mac repair store fitted out with tools, lights and a camera to begin dissecting the iPhone, a process that can take hours. 


Chip executives who are often happy to boast to reporters about what smartphones their components have been chosen for turn silent at the mention of Apple - for fear of losing current business or missing future opportunities with the world's most prestigious consumer electronics device maker. 

Teardowns give investors a vital glimpse of which suppliers have been chosen for new Apple devices. 

The iPhone 5 supports faster 4G networks thanks to a chip supplied by Qualcomm. It also comes with a number of software updates, including Apple's new in-house maps feature. 

The latest iPhone includes a new A6 processor that Apple says runs twice as fast as the previous generation. Apple depends on Samsung Electronics  to manufacture mobile processors on its behalf, a relationship strained by the two companies' bitter legal dispute over patents. 

Avago makes chips that keep different kinds of radio signals - like Wi-Fi and bluetooth - from interfering with each other and its components have been found in previous iPhones. 

Wireless chipmaker Skyworks and Triquint were also expected to appear in the iPhone 5. 

Other semiconductors Soules found in the phone were labeled Apple but are likely made by unnamed suppliers. 

The iPhone 5 packs three microphones, an 8 megapixel camera that can take panoramic views, and improved battery endurance supporting eight hours of 4G Web browsing, the company says. 

Earlier this month, shares of Audience Inc plummeted 63 percent after the company said Apple would no longer use its noise filtering technology in the iPhone 5.  Audience's technology, which improves voice quality in mobile devices, may have been replaced by a chip made by rival Cirrus Logic Inc , analysts believe. 

At the end of July, Austin, Texas-based Cirrus Logic's stock jumped 24 percent in one session after the audio chipmaker predicted its September quarter revenue would leap 70 percent from the June quarter.  

iFixit was unable to confirm whether Cirrus' technology was in the new iPhone. 

Sharp Corp, LG Display Co Ltd and Japan Display Inc are believed to supply Apple with display panels for its iPhones, although they were not identified in Thursday's teardown. 

Apple has sold more than 243 million iPhones since 2007.