Electronic Design

iPhone Inside: See Who Scored The Biggest Design Wins

Newcomers Infineon Technologies AG, National Semiconductor Corp. and Balda provided Apple with key components for its iPhone, as did established component makers like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., according to an iSuppli teardown. German semiconductor supplier Infineon contributed the digital baseband, radio-frequency transceiver and power-management devices, providing a significant portion of the core communications capability of the iPhone. National Semiconductor contribution's totaled less than one percent of the total product cost, but it's an important win for the company since it has never contributed to the iPod, according to iSuppli. Its serial display interface that connects the display to the graphics controller uses National's Mobile Pixel Link standard, which the company has been attempting to promote for use in mobile devices. For the display—a key feature of the iPhone—Apple picked Balda, of Germany, in conjunction with partner TPK Solutions, of China, for its touch-screen display module. The actual touch-screen display was supplied by multiple sources, including Epson, Sharp and Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. Ltd. South Korean electronics giant Samsung scored big in supplying the iPhone's applications processor, which includes an ARM RISC core. The company also contributed the NAND flash memory and DRAM for the iPhone. Samsung has $76.25 worth of semiconductor content in the 8Gbyte version of the iPhone, giving the company a 30.5 percent share of the product's hardware cost—the largest total of any single supplier, according to iSuppli. Wolfson maintained its design win for the audio codec, a notable achievement given the challenge to maintain design wins from generation to generation in the iPod, according to iSuppli. CSR plc supplied Bluetooth silicon and Marvell contributed a Wi-Fi baseband chip. iSuppli totaled iPhone's manufacturing cost to be about $265, giving Apple a profit margin of over 55 percent on each 8Gbyte iPhone sold at the $599 retail price. Since its release, sales of the iPhone have soared. iSuppli expects that to continue, with shipments forecasted to total 4.5 million this year, expanding to 30 million by 2011.

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