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ams’ Multi-Spectral Sensor in the Apple iPhone X

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ams multi spectral sensor apple iphone X System Plus Consulting couv flyerThe most advanced multispectral 6-channel ambient light sensor, supplied and produced by ams for its biggest customer, Apple.

For the semiconductor industry, the smartphone is a gold mine. Each component inside every OEM’s flagship phone holds substantial value for the component supplier, which sometimes gains a significant portion of the phone’s sales revenue too. Apple is one of the major OEMs that every supplier fights to work with, and for many years ams AG has been the world’s leading ambient light sensor (ALS) producer, due to its presence in every Apple iPhone.

For the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, ams provided a custom version of its multispectral sensor, replacing and improving the iPhone’s ALS function.


ams multi spectral sensor apple iphone X System Plus 1


Located in the phone’s front, above the main speaker, the ALS shares the flex PCB with the proximity sensor and the front microphone. The custom version provided by ams is a multi-spectral ALS in very long, narrow packaging (6 x 0.9mm).

The ALS’ architecture allows for large spectral sensing. Combined with a diffuser, the die sensor features six different cells, most likely dedicated to UV, red, green, blue, NIR1, and NIR2, thus providing a broad light spectrum. This allows the sensor to adapt the display color and brightness towards warm or cool-white based on the correlated color temperature (CCT) level of the phone’s environment.

This report analyzes the complete multi-spectral ALS, from the sensor die to the custom packaging developed for the device. This report also includes a complete cost analysis and a price estimate for the device.













Table of contents

Overview / Introduction


ams Company Profile


Apple iPhone X - Teardown


Physical Analysis

> Physical Analysis Methodology
> Package
- View and dimensions
- Package opening
- Package cross-section: diffuser, windows, 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


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 and cross-sections

  • Precise measurements

  • Material analysis

  • Manufacturing process flow

  • Supply chain evaluation

  • Manufacturing cost analysis

  • Estimated sales price