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Apple iPhone X: MEMS Microphones from Goertek, Knowles, and AAC Technologies

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SP18384 MEMS iPhone X MEMS Microphones couv 2018 System Plus ConsultingAnalysis and comparison of the design and process evolution used by Apple’s three MEMS microphone suppliers.

For microphone integration in the iPhone X, Apple has chosen the market’s top three microphone suppliers: Goertek, Knowles, and AAC Technologies.

The Apple iPhone X has four MEMS microphones: a front-facing top microphone, two front-facing bottom microphones, and a rear-facing top microphone. This layout is similar to previous iPhones, but the front-facing bottom-right microphone is now integrated in the speaker module. All four microphones share the same Apple-specific package dimensions, but with a different internal structure (number of substrate metal layers, embedded capacitance, ASIC, etc.).

SP18384 MEMS iPhone X MEMS Microphones 2 2018 System Plus Consulting

In the iPhone X, we’ve observed changes to the microphones provided by Apple’s three suppliers:

Goertek, which still relies on Infineon for die manufacturing, integrates Infineon’s technology with a double backplate, delivering a differential MEMS microphone. For the ASIC, Goertek has considerably reduced the die area by around 40% compared to the previous die.

Knowles uses the same technologies as before, but one part has a new MEMS design and another part has an existing MEMS design.

AAC uses the same MEMS microphone die as Goertek, but with a different ASIC.

Infineon is a big winner. By providing ASIC and MEMS dies to all of Goertek’s and AAC Technologies’ products, it now possesses a large share of the MEMS microphone market.







Table of contents


Company Profile and Supply Chain

iPhone X - Teardown Goertek/Knowles/AAC Technologies

Physical Analysis

> Package
- Package view and dimensions
- Package opening
- Package cross-section

> ASIC Die
- View, dimensions and marking
- Dicing
- Delayering and process
- Cross-section

> MEMS Die
- View, dimensions and marking
- Dicing
- Membrane and backplate
- Anti-stiction bumps
- Cavity
- Cross-section


Manufacturing Process Flow

> ASIC Front-end Process







> ASIC Wafer Fabrication Unit

> MEMS Process Flow

> MEMS Wafer Fabrication Unit

> Packaging Process Flow

> Package Assembly Unit



Physical Analysis Comparison

Goertek/Knowles/AAC Technologies - Cost Analysis

> Cost Analysis Overview

> Yield Hypotheses

> ASIC Front-end Cost

> ASIC Wafer and Die Cost

> MEMS Front-end Cost

> MEMS Wafer and Die Cost

> Back-end: Packaging Cost

> Microphone Component Cost


Goertek/Knowles/AAC Technologies - Estimated Sales Price

Manufacturing Cost Comparison





















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

  • Comparison with previous microphones found in the iPhone 7, by supplier

  • Comparison between each supplier (Knowles vs. Goertek vs. AAC)