Uses single LTE chipset for all US carriers
In spite of shifting to more advanced components, the iPad Air is actually cheaper to build than the third-generation iPad was, according to a teardown by IHS iSuppli. The cost is estimated to be between $274 and $361 per unit, depending on the exact configuration. The base cost is $42 less than it was for the third-gen iPad. One contributing factor is the A7 processor, which while costing $18 per unit, is still $5 less than an A5 processor was 18 months ago.
Supplier hints at 'product transition at a large smartphone OEM'
A forecast from chipmaker Avago Technologies may point to production of a next-generation iPhone getting underway, Reuters suggests. The company is predicting a sequential revenue increase of 6 to 9 percent for the current quarter, based on "the initial ramp of a product transition at a large smartphone OEM, a recovery in enterprise networking spending, as well as a continued, gradual uptick in industrial end market demand," according to CEO Hock Tan. While the OEM isn't named, Apple is already an Avago customer, and the news would be consistent with ongoing rumors.
Apple finally making leap
An Italian blog has posted photos of what it claims is the logic board for the iPhone 5, set to be announced later today. The board notably uses an A6 chip, indicating that Apple is finally advancing beyond the A5 line. When the third-generation iPad was introduced in March Apple designated its processor the A5X, since the chip was little different from the A5 except for graphics power.
Company allegedly fueling chip production
A number of US suppliers are already seeing increased business from Apple, according to sources for AppleInsider. One person in the industry notes that chipmakers like Avago and Texas Instruments have been increasing US production during the past year because of orders from "a large personal electronics manufacturer" that continues to find record-breaking sales. Because they're afraid to single out Apple by name, the person explains that some people in the industry like to joke about growing orders from an unnamed "fruit vendor."
Qualcomm, Skyworks, others among candidates
Apple is in the middle of evaluating potential parts for the next-generation iPhone, according to a Barclays research memo. One expected choice is Qualcomm's MDM9615 chipset, which enables voice and data over LTE. The part is different from the MDM9600 used in the third-generation iPad, which is limited to data only. It also remains to be seen if the new iPhone will support "world" LTE, unlike the iPad, which requires different models for different bands. Adding LTE to the iPhone is expected to cost Apple between $3 and $10 extra per unit versus 3G.
iFixIt teardown scores Droid Razr 4 out of 10
iFixit has, once again, published one of its device teardowns, this time turning its tools on the Motorola Droid RAZR. The team found the ultra-thin 0.28-inch design of the phone cost it a strong repairability score, with the handset posting a 4 out of 10 lower than most Apple devices. This was due to a lot of glue to hold it together, an LCD fused to the glass, and lots of fairly delicate plastic throughout the construction.
OmniVision still mostly in charge for iPhone 5 cam
Talk of Sony pitching in to make eight-megapixel cameras for the iPhone 5 was at once validated and upturned by purported details from the supply chain. OmniVision would still make the CMOS-based sensor and would be responsible for 90 percent of production, but 10 percent would come from Sony. The orders Digitimes was told about would be large enough that OmniVision's contract chip manufacturer, the already large TSMC, would be boosting its wafer production by 40 percent between spring and summer.
iSuppli and UBM estimate iPad 2 at 326 tops
Analysts have provided somewhat conflicting cost breakdowns for the iPad 2 that nonetheless both put the Motorola Xoom in a poor light. iSuppli said Apple's tablet should cost $323.35 in raw parts for a 32GB, Verizon (EVDO) version or $326.60 for its AT&T (HSPA) equivalent. The HSPA version needs chipsets with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi separate from the Intel/Infineon cellular chip where the EVDO version uses an all-in-one Qualcomm chipset, much like in the Verizon iPhone.