SAN FRANCISCO – Apple Inc is famous for relying on low-cost Asian manufacturers to both source and assemble its popular gadgets, but the consumer device giant recently started receiving a critical component in its iPad and iPhones from closer to home – Texas.
The A5 processor – the brain in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 – is now made in a sprawling 1.6 million square feet factory in Austin owned by Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, according to people familiar with the operation.
One of the few major components to be sourced from within the United States, the A5 processor is built by Samsung in a newly constructed $3.6 billion non-memory chip production line that reached full production in early December.
Nearly all of the output of the non-memory chip production from the factory – which is the size of about nine football fields – is dedicated to producing Apple chips, one of the people said. Samsung also produces NAND flash memory chips in Austin…
Made in Texas: Apple’s A5 iPhone chip – [Link]
Apple A5 floorplan: [via]
We had decapsulated the A5 a couple of days ago, but as you could see in those early pictures, you can’t tell much of a chip’s layout from the top metal – it’s all power and ground buses. So we have to de-layer the chip down to a level where we can see the block layout of the chip; not an easy thing when there’s nine layers of metal! In fact, these days it’s easier to go in from the back and remove the substrate silicon, and look at the gate level from below. Then we can identify the circuit blocks that make up the full device.
Apple A5 floorplan – [Link]