The first iPhone XS and XS Max teardowns are out, and they contain good news for at least a few chip suppliers.
As usual, electronics repair website iFixit and research firm TechInsights have taken apart Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report latest flagship iPhones, and shared plenty of photos of their work on the phones' launch day. When able to, each firm identified the chips and chip packages that they spotted.
Among the things spotted by iFixit: Four chips/packages from RF chip giant Skyworks (SWKS) - Get Report . That's being taken by analysts as a sign that Skyworks gained RF share with this year's iPhones.
Notably, this discovery comes after Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Report confirmed that it would lose some RF share with this year's iPhones -- the company asserts it's still well-positioned to grow its RF content in future years -- and after analyst reports that indicated Qorvo (QRVO) - Get Report , rather than Skyworks, would be the main beneficiary of Broadcom's share loss.
No Qorvo parts were identified within iFixit's teardown, while one Broadcom power amplifier device (PAD) was spotted. However, it's worth keeping in mind that a particular iPhone's RF circuitry depends on the country and/or carrier that it was made for. Thus Qorvo could have more content in some of the iPhone XS units meant for international markets. Nomura's Krysten Sciacca, who calls the lack of Qorvo parts within iPhone XS teardowns "surprising," thinks the company likely has a higher content share within the iPhone XR, which becomes available on Oct. 26th.
In addition to Skyworks, European chipmaker STMicroelectronics (STM) - Get Report comes out looking good in iFixit's teardown. STMicro, which was already supplying an OLED power management chip and Face ID-related sensors for iPhones, is now also supplying a secure microcontroller (MCU) that enables the iPhone XS's eSIM functionality.
With the caveat that Apple relies on multiple suppliers for iPhone memory chips, iFixit also found DRAM from Micron (MU) - Get Report and NAND flash memory from Toshiba inside of the XS units it took apart.
Memory suppliers benefit from the fact that the XS and XS Max have 4GB of RAM (up from 3GB for the iPhone X), and from Apple's launch of 512GB versions of the phones (the iPhone X tops out at 256GB).
Not surprisingly, given the many reports indicating that Apple will be solely relying on Intel (INTC) - Get Report modems for this year iPhones, TechInsights uncovered what it believes is Intel's XMM7560 modem (it supports Gigabit LTE speeds). The firm also spotted Intel RF transceiver and power management chips, and noted that unlike older Intel modems that are manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) - Get Report , the XMM7560 appears to be manufactured by Intel itself.
Meanwhile, plenty of traditional iPhone suppliers appear to have held onto their usual spots with the XS and XS Max. Cases in point:
- Broadcom still appears to be supplying a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip and a wireless charging module.
- NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) - Get Report appears to be supplying an NFC controller chip and a display port multiplexer chip.
- Cypress Semiconductor is supplying a USB-C controller chip.
- Texas Instruments (TXN) - Get Report is supplying battery charger and DC/DC power converter chips.
- Though the parts in question are labeled as being from Apple, Cirrus Logic (CRUS) - Get Report is still believed to be supplying an audio codec chip, along with amplifiers. However, Apple's decision to stop including a headphone jack adapter with this year's iPhones will ding Cirrus's Apple-related sales a bit.
- Though not mentioned by name, Sony (SNE) - Get Report is believed to remain Apple's primary camera image sensor supplier. iFixit notes that the iPhone XS's wide-angle rear camera sensor is 32% larger than the iPhone X's.
When teardowns for the lower-end iPhone XR arrive next month, there will probably be a few differences in terms of which chips are found on the phone's circuit boards. However, expect most of the circuitry that's discovered to remain the same.