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iPhone 4 teardown confirms 512MB of RAM, unique parts

updated 08:05 am EDT, Wed June 23, 2010

iPhone 4 has same speed as iPad

A quick dissection of the iPhone 4 by iFixit has discovered that it theoretically has performance as least as good as an iPad. The already-known A4 processor should run at the same 1GHz clock speed as seen in the Apple tablet, in spite of the smaller size, but with 512MB of memory should be better with multitasking. Whether Apple has quietly underclocked or otherwise detuned the A4 isn't known, but early benchmarking has suggested it's faster than an iPhone 3GS but not as fast as an iPad in practice.

The A4 isn't the only unique part, the repair site found. The AGD1 gyroscope chipset is designed by ST Micro but appears to either have been tailor-made for Apple or used first in the iPhone 4. Apple isn't using any existing equivalent from its supplier, thought it is using an ST Micro accelerometer.

Other notable components include an improved magnetic sensor for better motion response, an LED backlight for the LCD, Samsung flash memory, Skyworks GSM hardware and Broadcom hardware for extra wireless like the 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. The audio chamber has also been improved and should put out speaker noise better than the earlier generation, according to the investigation.

Serviceability and durability should also have been significantly improved. Although the screen is now more expensive to replace as the glass, LCD and touch layer are now glued together, the array itself is less likely to break. Apple's claim of special aluminosilicate glass is actually a reference to Gorilla Glass, Corning's extra-tough glass designed to prevent cracks and scratches. The lithium-ion battery, apart from being larger, is now also much easier to replace for a technician as the phone back opens easily after removing two Philips screws. The battery isn't soldered in and can be pulled out quickly.

The design as a whole is considered a "brilliant" example of engineering, particularly in the steel frame that doubles as the antenna. The mainboard and other components all take unusual shapes as Apple was clearly careful to maximize its usable space, which is smaller even with the larger battery and extra camera.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. MacAssemble

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Clock Speed

    Due we know that the clock speed of the Apple A4 chip in the phone? Is it a full 1Ghz like the iPad or has it been clocked down?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    You mean the iPhone 4 has unique parts? You're kidding me!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Clock Speed

    Is it a full 1Ghz like the iPad or has it been clocked down?

    Your question implies there's only one A4 chip, and that 1GHz is its frequency, and any deviation is up-clocking or down-clocking.

    It could be just a different A4 chip, this one running at a slower speed (like all CPUs have). Or that this is the 'base' chip, and the iPads are actually clocked up.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    I am incredibly relieved and comforted to know that the cell part is being done by skyworks, a veteran RF chip maker/designer AND that's all they do. You can be sure that you will have a better quality audio and more reliable 3G connection with their expertise behind the scenes.

    Ironically, the intel switch apple ad, has a specific sequence in it, and was done similarly by the director also for a music video "such great heights" by the postal service, the chip lab in that music video = skyworks. One can only wonder if they started talking to skyworks after the 3Gs issues.

    - A

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