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MEMS & Sensors

An article written by Junko Oshida for EETIMES - You might think the world has already seen enough Apple iPhone X teardowns. But there are grunts in the trenches who just can’t seem to get enough.  Certainly, iPhone X teardowns focused on logic ICs have been there, done that. But the untrodden ground Apple has really broken is in areas such as optical modules, components, MEMS, packaging and PCB technologies, according to Romain Fraux, chief technology officer at System Plus Consulting, Yole Développement’s reverse-engineering partner.

Last week, EE Times sat down with analysts at both Yole (Lyon, France) and System Plus Consulting (Nante, France).

Asked about Apple’s most significant advancement in its iPhone X, Jean-Christophe Eloy, Yole’s CEO and president, nominated “the optical system Apple has brought to mobile devices.” He said Apple’s big milestone is that 3D sensing — an ability to recognize faces much more accurately than any existing Android phone — is now “poised to spread to everything from tablets to cars and door bells.”

EE Times asked both Eloy and Fraux to lay out highlights of their discoveries from in-depth teardowns. We also asked them to identify lesser known players who got iPhone X design wins.

AT&S, Austria-based PCB manufacturer, wins big

The analysts named, among others, AT&S (Leoben, Austria), a European PCB manufacturer, as a significant contributor to the highly integrated iPhone X.

While teardown experts such as TechInsights and iFixit also marveled at the PCB sandwich they saw in iPhone X, Fraux noted that AT&S, so far, “has been the only one capable of offering such an unprecedented level of high-density interconnect” on PCB boards.

By stacking two PCB boards together, Fraux estimates that Apple saved 15 percent of the iPhone X’s floor space. That gave Apple room for extra batteries, he added.... Full article




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