“It’s just like peeling a banana” reads the caption on one  teardown photo describing the careful dissection of the iPhone 5. . But if you really want to see how it was done, check out this initial teardown video produced by iFixit. 

It’s been 3 days since Chipworks tweeted anything interesting about the iPhone 5. The last was to ID the source of the A6 processor – which they’ve confirmed to be from Samsung. Perhaps they got sidetracked or bored after the initial teardown and identifying the source of the image sensors and A6 processor. Never fear though, EE Times published a 21 page analysis (4 text, 17 image pages) written by Alan Yogasingam, based on a teardown done by UBM Techinsights. In it, he did more than ID the parts, he offered a lot of whys and wherefores for the company’s selections. Apparently, once a supplier has earned its socket spot inside an iPhone, it takes a lot to oust it for a better option. (Case in point, the A6 is from Samsung despite the lawsuits and the rumor mill waxing on about TSMC courting Apple for the privilege of manufacturing the A6 processor.) Also, he gave me a bit of what I’d been waiting to hear – that the processor memory and logic are a PoP device, identified as Elpida’s B8164B3PM 1-GB power DDR2 (LPDDR2) SDRAM.  Additionally, Chipworks’ Gary Tomkins confirmed for me that both image sensors (front and back) have backside illumination (BSI). Chipworks promises more details later in the week, so keep your twitter feed tuned to @chipworks #iPhone5.

IHS iSuppli did its own teardown, which was reported on by Greg Keizer, in ComputerWorld. He interviewed IHS teardown expert, Wayne Lam, who explained that this is the most complex and complicated model designed by Apple, because of the LTE data networks and the two radio antennas required to handle multiple LTE frequency bands. Apparently this is the first time the company has had to design two models to accommodate multiple wireless partners.

Unfortunately, LTE capability means very little to smartphone customers in regions where LTE isn’t an option. Perhaps that’s one reason David Manners offered his less-than-enthusiastic opinion on the iPhone 5, and why in his opinion, it’s an indicator that Apple is “losing its way” in today’s post on Mannerisms.

Living in a multiple iPhone/iPod/iPad household, I was slightly dismayed to find out that the docking connector isn’t backwards compatible. (I can see the Christmas wish lists now.) But apparently this was a sacrificial decision made to support LTE and a larger audio chip in the thinner overall footprint, rather than a ploy to sell more accessories. But if that’s really the story, perhaps a good faith gesture on Apple’s part would be to include an adaptor with every iPhone 5 instead of charging an additional $35 for it?

Here’s what’s most interesting to me from the 3D perspective. We all point to smartphones and tablets (most notable among those the iPhone and iPad) as drivers for 3D ICs. According to these teardown reports, the only 3D devices integrated in the iPhone 5 are the PoP processor memory on logic, and the BSI image sensors. What’s more, the battery in the iPhone 5 is slightly larger than it’s predecessor, to power the high high performance processor. As Rao Tumalla noted in his speech at IMAPS, this is not an example of system scaling. Imagine what the future holds once 2.5D and 3D technologies hits the big time.  ~ F.v.T.

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