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Second Generation of TSMC’s Integrated Fan-Out (inFO) Packaging for the Apple A11 found in the iPhone X

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Apple A11 inFO Packaging couv flyerThe latest Apple application processor engine : from the stacked board to the A11, and reverse costing of TSMC's updated inFO packaging.

Until 2015, Apple used to integrate its application processor engine (APE) in standard Package-on-Package (PoP) packaging. Starting in 2016, with the Apple A10 APE in the Apple iPhone 7, TSMC has brought a breakthrough fan-out technology called integrated Fan-Out (inFO) packaging to the market. This is still the most innovative, powerful and cost-effective fan-out packaging technology for the APE. For its latest flagships, the Apple iPhone 8 and tenth’s anniversary iPhone X, Apple has renewed its collaboration with TSMC by using the new generation of inFO packaging for the Apple A11 APE.

Comparing the iPhone X and the iPhone 8, Apple and its partners have integrated the two flagships’ main boards differently. In the iPhone X, the main board uses special printed circuit board (PCB) technology from AT&S to reduce its PCB footprint by about 15%. To do this, AT&S uses two stacked PCBs with components mounted on both sides and a via frame. The APE is located inside the structure, under the DRAM package, using PoP technology. This new version also features new land-side decoupling capacitor (LSC) technology.


Apple A11 inFO Packaging 3

The Apple A11 is a wafer-level package using the new generation of TSMC’s packaging technology. It uses copper pillars, called Through inFO Vias (TiVs), to replace the well-known Through Molded Via (TMV) technology. Apple still outperforms standard PoP technology thanks to the inFO packaging and its innovations, which include copper pillars, redistribution layers and silicon high density capacitor integration.

This report analyzes the complete package, from the DRAM memory to the LSC developed by TSMC. The report includes a comprehensive cost analysis and price estimation of the device based on detailed description of the packaging. It also features a detailed technology comparison with standard PoP and Shinko’s MCeP PoP packaging.











Table of contents

Overview / Introduction

Apple Company Profile and inFO Technology

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X Teardown

Physical Analysis

> Physical Analysis Methodology

> A11 Packaging Analysis
- Package view and dimensions: X-ray, RDL deprocessing, RDL line/space width
- Package opening: DRAM memories, APE die
- Board and package cross-section: via frame, main board PCB, TiV, adhesives, RDLs

> Land-Side Decoupling Capacitor
- Die view and dimensions
- Die overview and delayering
- Die cross-section
- Die process

Manufacturing Process Flow

> Packaging Fabrication Unit

> inFO Package Process Flow















> Deep Trench Capacitor (DTC) Chip Fabrication Unit

> DTC Process Flow

Cost Analysis

> Summary of the Cost Analysis

>  Supply Chain Description

> Yield Hypotheses

> A11 Die Cost Analysis
- Wafer cost
- Die cost

> DTC Die Cost Analysis
- Wafer cost
- Die cost

> inFO Package Cost Analysis
- inFO wafer front-end cost
- inFO cost per process step

> Final Test Cost

> Component Cost


Estimated Price Analysis


Technology comparison with Samsung’s PoP, Shinko’s MCeP and the previous inFO generation from the Apple A10

































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: cross-sections

  • Precise measurements

  • Materials analysis

  • Manufacturing process flow

  • Supply chain evaluation

  • Manufacturing cost analysis

  • Estimated sales price

  • Technology comparison with standard PoP, Shinko’s MCeP PoP and TSMC’s inFO first generation