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3 Winners from the Apple Inc. iPhone SE Teardown

By Ashraf Eassa - Mar 31, 2016 at 5:15PM

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This Fool takes a closer look.

Apple's iPhone SE. Image credit: Apple. 

On March 21, Apple (AAPL 2.45%) announced the latest addition to its iPhone lineup -- the iPhone SE. The device is priced as the company's entry level model, with the 16 gigabyte version selling for $399 and the 64 gigabyte model coming in at $499.

Aside from its price, the device is novel because it has very high end processing performance and retains the display size and industrial design of the popular iPhone 5s.

Teardown specialists at Chipworks got ahold of an iPhone SE and many of the major components inside have been identified. Here are three of the winners.

No. 1: InvenSense (INVN)
In a prior article, I suggested that since the iPhone SE recycles components from the iPhone 6/6s, it could very well move to an iPhone 6/6s class motion processor. If Apple were to do this, rather than recycle the one used in the iPhone 5s, then this would represent a win for InvenSense which was not included in the 5s but did win spots in the iPhone 6 and 6s-series of devices.

The Chipworks tear-down shows that this is exactly what happened with the iPhone SE.

Given that iPhone 6s-series phones have seen weaker-than-expected demand and given that InvenSense apparently lost the main motion processor spot in the Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) Galaxy S7, the motion processing specialist could certainly use this win.

No. 2: Cirrus Logic (CRUS 2.95%)
Cirrus Logic has long provided audio chips into Apple's devices, so it's not surprising that the iPhone SE packs two audio chips from the chipmaker. What's interesting, though, is that Chipworks says that these chips are the same ones that are found in the iPhone 6s/6s Plus.

It is believed that Cirrus saw a boost in dollar content boost in the iPhone 6s/6s Plus (and by implication the iPhone SE) relative to the prior generation iPhone 6/6 Plus (and certainly relative to the iPhone 5s). To the extent that iPhone SE sales take the place of would-have-been iPhone 5s sales as well as cannibalize iPhone 6/6 Plus sales, Cirrus should benefit.

No. 3: Qualcomm (QCOM 4.17%)
In going from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6s, Apple has apparently adopted Qualcomm's MDM9625M modem and accompanying WTR1625L RF transceiver. This is the same cellular modem and RF transceiver that was found inside of the iPhone 6/6 Plus generation of smartphones.

Though not a terribly huge win for Qualcomm, the wireless chip giant does get to see some increased content relative to what it had inside of the iPhone 5s. Given that Apple shipped at least 30 million iPhone 5s phones in 2015, and given the attractive price point and feature-set of the new phone, this could work out to be a small positive for Qualcomm overall.

The thing that investors should really watch for, though, is what kind of content increases Qualcomm will see in the next generation iPhone and whether it will ultimately have to share those spots with a competitor.

Interesting, but not game changing
At the end of the day, the iPhone SE should be a nice device for some of Apple's suppliers, particularly the first two mentioned in the above list. However, what is really going to be important to investors in Apple suppliers is what components the iDevice maker uses in the iPhone 7/7 Plus and how that content compares to that in the iPhone 6s/6s Plus. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$141.66 (2.45%) $3.39
Cirrus Logic, Inc. Stock Quote
Cirrus Logic, Inc.
$72.64 (2.95%) $2.08
QUALCOMM Incorporated Stock Quote
QUALCOMM Incorporated
$125.10 (4.17%) $5.01
InvenSense, Inc. Stock Quote
InvenSense, Inc.

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