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3 Chip Suppliers Inside the Apple iPhone XR Teardown

By Ashraf Eassa – Nov 15, 2018 at 1:30PM

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Here's who's inside Apple's more affordable 2018 iPhone.

On Oct. 26, Apple (AAPL 0.79%) began selling the iPhone XR, the most affordable of the three iPhones that the company unveiled on Sept. 12.

It wasn't long before teardown specialists at iFixit dismantled an iPhone XR, revealing to the world what the insides of the device look like, and identifying many of the key component suppliers for the product.

Apple's Phil Schiller on stage with images of blue and yellow iPhone XR phones behind him

Image source: Apple.

Here are three companies whose technologies were found inside: Intel (INTC 2.87%), Micron (MU 3.81%), and Broadcom (AVGO 3.03%).

1. Intel

It's been known for a while that Intel would be the sole supplier of cellular modems into Apple's latest line of smartphones, so it's unsurprising that iFixit's teardown unveiled that Intel is, indeed, inside of the device.

iFixit reported finding three Intel-supplied chips in the device: an Intel 9955 chip (iFixit believes that this is the baseband processor, and I agree), an Intel 5762 chip which is the radio frequency (RF) transceiver chip, and an Intel 5829 power-management chip.

TechInsights' teardown of the iPhone XS Max revealed the same PMB9955 baseband processor and PMB5762 RF transceiver, but it apparently had an Intel PMB6829 power-management chip. It's not entirely clear if the modem power-management chips in the iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max are different or if iFixit simply made a typo, but I'm going to assume that it's a typo.

What investors should take away is that even though the iPhone XR and the higher end iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max differ in rated (and, according to PC Magazine's testing, delivered) cellular performance, Intel has the same chip content across all three iPhones.

2. Micron

Micron sells both mobile DRAM and mobile NAND flash, and iFixit's iPhone XR sample was shown to include mobile DRAM -- 3 GB of LPDDR4X, to be precise -- from Micron.

The iPhone XR ships with only 3 GB of DRAM, while the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max pack 4 GB, so Apple's DRAM suppliers -- Micron included -- would probably rather see Apple sell more of its pricier iPhones than its cheaper ones.

Now, DRAM is a commodity product, and Apple generally sources its mobile DRAM from multiple vendors. For example, TechInsights found Micron DRAM across several initial samples of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but eventually found a model with DRAM supplied by Samsung, too.

3. Broadcom

Although Broadcom admitted to losing some content in the iPhone XR, the company is still a key component supplier in the device. iFixit identified a wireless power receiver chip, as well as a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module that's "similar to what's found in the [iPhone] XS," meaning that it contains a Broadcom Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combination system-on-a-chip (SoC).

Indeed, Broadcom has long been the sole supplier of the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth in the iPhone, and if Broadcom had lost the spot or even share in the iPhone XR, it'd have shown in the company's financial performance and guidance.

It's worth noting that TechInsights reported finding a Broadcom 3D Touch controller in the iPhone XS -- something that's presumably not in the iPhone XR, because that model doesn't support 3D Touch.

Unlike Intel, which has the same chip content across all of Apple's new iPhones, Broadcom should clearly benefit when iPhone buyers choose the higher-end iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max over the iPhone XR.

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Broadcom Ltd. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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