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Apple A7 APL0698 SoC (in red), Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE Modem (orange), and  Qualcomm WTR1605L LTE/HSPA+/CDMA2K/TDSCDMA/EDGE/GPS transceiver (yellow).

Apple A7 APL0698 SoC (in red), Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE Modem (orange), and Qualcomm WTR1605L LTE/HSPA+/CDMA2K/TDSCDMA/EDGE/GPS transceiver (yellow). Credit: iFixit

It didn’t take long for iFixit to teardown Apple’s new iPhone 5s, but what they found is perhaps less interesting than what they didn’t,

As we search for a much-anticipated M7 coprocessor, we begin to wonder if it actually is a separate IC, or if it is additional functionality built into the A7. Maybe the “M” stands for “magical,” the M7 is invisible, and Apple does use pixie dust to hold the device together. Or perhaps the “M” stands for “marketing”…

I guess we’ll have to wait until they decapsulate the A7 processor to find out?

UPDATE: Later in the day, iFixit posted this note:

Further digging by Chipworks gave us the identity of Apple’s mysterious M7 processor, a chip that was conspicuously absent from last night’s iPhone 5s teardown. It’s an NXP LPC18A1 device that was buried beneath a neoprene-looking cover.

From Chipworks: “The M7 is dedicated to processing and translating the inputs provided to it by the discrete sensors; the gyroscope, accelerometer and electromagnetic compass are mounted throughout the main printed circuit board. Traditional Apple techniques lead us to believe that these discrete sensors will most likely be STMicroelectronics for the accelerometer and the gyroscope, while the electromagnetic compass would again be an Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM). We have since confirmed the compass to be AKM’s AK8963.”

Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker, tinkerer and co-founder of a startup working on fixing the Internet of Things. He spends much of his time probing current trends in an attempt to determine which technologies are going to define our future.


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