At the end of last night’s iPhone 5s teardown, the iFixit team still wasn’t sure who made the chips inside the latest iOS device, or where the brand-new M7 was, even. There was a lot of speculation as to who made the A7, Apple’s new, faster powerhouse of a main processing unit, as well.
That’s ancient history, now, as reverse-engineering and security firm, Chipworks, de-capped the various chips on the iPhone 5s logic board to find out precisely what’s what.
It turns out that Apple rival Samsung makes the A7 chip. Chipworks writes, “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.” The team there expects to see Samsung’s HKMG used, which is a similar process to the one used in the Galaxy S IV, interestingly.
The M7 chip, then, was hidden underneath a cover on the main logic board, according to iFixit, which is why they didn’t see it on their initial teardown. Chipworks writes, “Luckily, we’ve been able to locate the M7 in the form the NXP LPC18A1. The LPC1800 series are high-performing Cortx-M3 based microcontrollers. This represents a big win for NXP.”
This chip is the one set up to process inputs from the gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass that are mounted on the main circuit board. Apple calls the M7 chip a co-processor, which will help the iPhone 5s deal with real-world positioning data without activating the main A7 unit, thereby saving a bit of power in the process.