The teardown of the 3rd generation iPad by iFixit revealed that Apple’s new iPad has 1GB (double that of iPad 2), comes with Qualcomm’s MDM9600 baseband chip and a much larger battery.

Folks at Chipworks have picked up from where iFixit left off. They have taken an even closer look inside the new iPad, which has revealed some interesting details. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The new iPad comes with a vastly improved 5 megapixel camera. However, Chipworks reports that we’ve seen it before.

It is very likely that Apple has recycled the 5 Mp back illuminated CMOS image sensor from the iPhone 4. That unit was the Omnivision OV5650. The OV5650 is the second generation back illumination (BSI) technology from OmniVision. This 5 Mp camera features 1.75 µm pixels, and is designed to deliver DSC quality in a mobile phone application. The sensor supports HD (1080p) video at 60 fps. Apple specifications for the new iPad also tout the same specification. So the analysis we have just completed . . . drum roll please . . . says that the 5 Mp back illuminated CMOS image sensor in the new iPad is the same, it is the Omnivision OV5650 (die markings OV290BF). 

  • If you were hoping that the new iPad comes with an improved camera, then you will be disappointed. The front facing camera is the same 0.3 megapixel Omnivision OV297AA unit that was used in iPad 2.
  • Chipworks has also confirmed that the new iPad’s A5X chip is manufactured by Samsung and Apple that Apple stuck with Samsungs’ low power 45 nm CMOS process that is used in iPad 2’s A5 chip. They’ve also observed that A5X chip is bigger than the A5 chip.

The A5X part number is APL5498 and the die markings repeat that same number as well. The balance of die markings indicate Samsung being the foundry for this processor (we really did not expect to see TSMC making the A5X, but one never knows). The A5x die measures 12.82  mm x 12.71  mm for an area of 162.94 mm². Compared to the A5 which measures 10.01 mm x 11.92 mm for an area of 119.32 mm². That is an increase in the die area by 36.5%! 

  • Apple continues to use a dual-sourcing strategy to source DRAM for iPad 3. Apple had used DRAM from Elpida in iFixit’s new iPad unit and has used DRAM from Samsung in Chipworks’ new iPad unit.
  • MacRumors reports that UBM TechInsights’ teardown indicates that the increase in size of A5X chip has been primarily due to the quad-core graphics processing unit.

What should be noted is that the processor cores from ARM are identical in look but the extra real estate on the processors (the A5 measures at approx. 120 mm^2 vs. the A5X which measures at 163 mm^2) is accounted for by the the PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU cores, of which they are paired in groups of two and then symmetrically opposed to each other.

While it is easy to appreciate the changes Apple has made from the outside (like the stunning Retina Display), it is always interesting to find out what Apple has changed inside their new iOS device.

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