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ams’s Color Sensor in the Apple iPhone 8

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SP18387 iPhone 8 Color Sensor 1 couvA next-generation sensor with organic color filters, more photodiodes, and infrared detection.

ams AG is a long-time supplier for Apple’s iPhone and has the biggest share of the ambient light sensor (ALS) market.

By introducing the RGBC sensor into high-end smartphones, ams has placed a key milestone leading to the next-generation, true-color sensor inside the iPhone X.

ams’ iPhone 8 color sensor is located at the phone’s front, sharing the flex PCB with the proximity sensor and the front camera module. The sensor is integrated in a 6-pin LGA package with dimensions 2.85 mm x 2.61 mm x 0.53 mm.


SP18387 iPhone 8 Color Sensor 2

For the iPhone 8, Apple chose to continue its partnership with ams, but with a next-generation ALS that allows for detecting a wider range of wavelengths (color and infrared). The uniqueness of this color sensor lies in the organic material used for certain filters, which involves a more complex process. The die design has also changed, with around 4x more photodiodes than the ALS in the iPhone 6S or 7, and there’s a circular arrangement for the sensing part which improves sensing ability. The central filter region is for the infrared sensor, and the color sensors are positioned around it. They are composed of organic color filters and interferometric filters.

This report includes a full analysis of the package and sensor die, a cost analysis and price estimate for the device, a comparison with the ams TCS3400, and a summary of ams’ ALS evolution in the iPhone.



   SP18387 iPhone 8 Color Sensor 1                 SP18387 iPhone 8 Color Sensor 3







Table of contents

Overview / Introduction

Company Profile - ams

Apple iPhone 8 - Teardown

Physical Analysis

> Physical Analysis Methodology

> Package
- View and dimensions
- Package opening
- Package cross-section: diffuser,  substrate

> Sensor Die
- View, dimensions, and markings
- Die process
- Cross-section: substrate, pads, filters

> Physical Data Summary


Manufacturing Process Flow

> Sensor - Die Process

> Sensor - Wafer Fabrication Unit

> Sensor - Filter Process Flow

> Sensor - Filter Wafer Fabrication Unit

> Packaging Process Flow

> Final Assembly Unit


Cost Analysis 

> Cost Analysis Overview

> Main Steps Used in the Economic Analysis

> Yield Hypotheses

> Sensor Die Cost
- Sensor - front-end (FE) cost
- Sensor - filter FE cost
- Back-end - tests and dicing
- Sensor - wafer and die cost

> Component
- Packaging cost
- Packaging cost per process step
- Component cost


Estimated Price Analysis





































About the authors


System Plus Consulting specializes in the cost analysis of electronics, from semiconductor devices to electronic systems.

Created more than 20 years ago, System Plus Consulting has developed a complete range of services, costing tools and reports to deliver in-depth production cost studies and estimate the objective selling price of a product.

System Plus Consulting engineers are experts in:

  • Integrated Circuits 
  • Power Devices & Modules 
  • MEMS & Sensors
  • Photonics 
  • LED 
  • Imaging 
  • Display 
  • Packaging 
  • Electronic Boards & Systems.

Through hundreds of analyses performed each year, System Plus Consulting offers deep added-value reports to help its customers understand their production processes and determine production costs. Based on System Plus Consulting’s results, manufacturers are able to compare their production costs to those of competitors.

System Plus Consulting is a sister company of Yole Développement.

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  • Detailed photos

  • Precise measurements

  • Materials analysis

  • Manufacturing process flow

  • Supply chain evaluation

  • Manufacturing cost analysis

  • Estimated sales price