Apple A6 Teardown – Dual-Core Processor, Triple-Core Graphics, 1GB Memory

Apple’s iPhone 5 comes equipped with an impressive A6 processor, but the Cupertino-based company has been tight lipped about the exact specifications of the A6 chip.

Famous teardown site iFixit teamed up with Chipworks to determine just what’s inside that processor, and as it turns out, it’s a beast. There are two CPU cores, three GPUs, and a gigabyte of ram, all of which has allowed the iPhone 5 to outperform every other smartphone on the market in recent benchmarks conducted by Anandtech.

In the teardown of the A6 chip, an ion blaster was used to remove layer after layer of copper and silicon. A microscope was used to discover 1GB of Elpida LP DDR2 SDRAM, dual ARM cores, and three PowerVR graphics chips.

The A6 chip, though manufactured by Samsung using a 32-nanometer CMOS process, was custom designed by Apple using the ARMv7s instruction set. The ARM cores on the chip were laid out manually, a process that provides faster processing speeds at a greater cost.

iFixit also discovered that Apple’s rear facing 8-megapixel camera was manufactured by Sony, while the front-facing camera was created by Omnivision.

The iPhone 5’s specs hold a lot of promise for the fourth generation iPad. With a 32-nanometer custom chip, the next iPad could be quite a bit thinner and lighter, following in the footsteps of the iPhone 5.

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli