More from iPhone 4 teardown - is Apple A4 1GHz?


We previously mentioned iFixit was tearing down the iPhone 4, and had confirmed 512MB of RAM and said the front and back displays were Corning Gorilla Glass. Well they're done with the teardown now and here are some more details.

The only area where we're still unclear is the Apple A4 system-on-chip. iFixit says 1GHz below but Engagdet thought that, while faster than iPhone 3GS, it was slower than the confirmed 1GHz iPad, and MacRumors rough benchmarks bear that out. So what's the deal on the chip? Is it doing more or did Apple clock it down to get that amazing battery life and lower the thermal impact?

More from iFixit after the break.

[iFixit, MacRumors, Engadget]

  • Like the iPhone 3G and 3GS, there are two silver Phillips screws at the bottom of the phone. But removing these screws releases the rear case instead of the front glass, giving you immediate access to the battery.

  • Unfortunately, the LCD panel is very securely glued to the glass and digitizer. If you break the glass, you'll have to replace the glass, digitizer, and LCD as a single assembly.

  • The 3.7V, 1420 mAh Li-Polymer battery is not soldered in place, and very easy to remove.

  • The iPhone 4 sports two cameras -- a 1.3 MP front-facer, and a 5 MP beauty on the back. Both are located on their own independent boards, making it possible to physically remove the cameras without damaging the phone.

  • The phone uses the 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 core, much like its bigger sibling, the iPad.

  • Unlike the iPhone 3GS and iPad -- which are both equipped with 256 MB of RAM -- the iPhone 4 has a whopping 512 MB.

  • The AGD1 is the new 3 axis gyroscope that we believe is designed and manufactured by ST Micro for Apple. The package marks on this device do not appear to be the currently available commercial part, L3G4200D.

  • In what can only be described as a work of genius, Apple has integrated the UMTS, GSM, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth antennas into the stainless steel inner frame.

  • Broadcom provides both a BCM4329FKUBG 802.11n with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and FM receiver and a BCM4750IUB8 single-chip GPS receiver.

  • We've identified chips from Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, Numonyx, Samsung, ST Micro, Skyworks, Texas Instruments, and TriQuint.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 27 comments. Add yours.

Shrike says:

I think it is 850 MHz or around there. All based on the belief that say an extra 30 min of battery life is more important than another 200 MHz in clock rate to Apple.
Who knows.

Jnickell says:

Fm reciever? Why - are we going to be able to use it?

Dimwit says:

@Jnickell, not until Apple gets out of the music sales business. I'm pretty sure the 3Gs has this capability as well.

john says:

Is there any way a jailbreak guru can enable the fm reciever?

macharborguy says:

so the front camera is "basically" an Apple iSight camera? 1280x1024

macharborguy says:

@Dimwit: And just to expand on that, the iPod Nano has a working FM Receiver, however, developers cannot make apps for it like they can for the iPhone or iPod Touch. Think of how many "record live radio" apps would show up, or have to be blocked by Apple.

TumnusMr says:

FM receivers usually need an antenna too. In devices like these it is often wired headphones, but that requires the chip to be connected somehow.
Maybe there just isn't enough room to provide such a connection or there is some technical issue blocking it such as the way they implemented the headphone inline controls. So without an antenna the FM receiver is unlikely to work.
I doubt there is a conspiracy behind it. They used an off-the-shelf component for WiFi and Bluetooth that also happens to support FM, which they have not used (yet).

Mackie says:

I'm guessing the Cirrus Logic chip is the DAC?

slalomskie says:

We have been moving the Gorilla glass since last year to Hong Kong, over 180,000 lbs a day.

zeagus says:

Maybe it's dynamically clocked? That would explain 38 hours of use.

Mr. Nelson says:

I believe its clocked at 800 mhz to save battery.

MustangMatt says:

Apple could use the FM radio to their advantage. Block out apps that record live radio but allow tagging of songs on the radio and save them to iTunes. It's a clear win/win for them.

Redshirt says:

I'd like to find out how they determined the front glass was Gorilla glass...

Redshirt says:

And what about the back glass? Is that Gorilla glass too?

Jellotime91 says:

Oh man.. Cue the fandroids:
"omagawd, ur aaiphun is lyke onli 850mhz"

Dimwit says:

In light of the fact that several android phones have fm radio enabled, I seriously doubt that there is a technical reason for it not being enabled in the iPhone. Apples entire media plan is to force the consumer to iTunes. That's why they still haven't included a blu-ray player on any mac, despite the fact that they were/are in the blu-Ray consortium. I'm relatively sure that Steve has a good excuse for not enabling the fm reciever like "the audio quality sucks, there is too much interference from the cellular radios...", but I am convinced that it stems from a desire to have us buy our media thru iTunes.

BSmith4832 says:

I'm with @Shrike on the clock guess vs. battery life. For the vast majority of users (75% + maybe) an extra half hour (give or take) of texting, facebook, email, or twitter (from the bar lol) is priceless in comparison to the slight bump in speed. Especially when we're talking about a reasonable increase over the 3GS already - it's a no brainer... go with the battery life.
However, you know how the Evo fanboys will tear that apart. Even though they've proven to get horrendous battery life - but who cares!!!!!11111 lol

BSmith4832 says:

@Dimwit - totally agreed. It's Apple's business plan in general. They already make fantastic products (I think we'd all agree on that one, and they know it too) so what's the best way to make money for an extended period of time? Give the customer's what they want (phone, tablet, etc), make it a great product, yet force the customer into a corner without them totally knowing it. They're happy, you're happy($$) - from a customer's perspective, they're fulfilled. That's the important part.
Oh, and if you're Apple you create "white lies" about why you can't create a certain type of product - when you damn well know you can create it if you really want to.

TumnusMr says:

@Dimwit & BSmith4832: eh? You can stream hundreds of radio stations using free apps like AOL Radio, not to mention all the free internet based radio apps like Pandora. Apple doesn't see a penny from that. Plus iTunes lets you import MP3s and rip CDs bought elsewhere so I'm not buying that logic.
The Apple iPhone is engineered somewhat differently from other phones and I'm not saying there are insurmountable technical issues, but maybe it would have affected internal layout of components or something similar (things like EMF have to be taken into consideration) and Apple doesn't like to compromise on things when it doesn't see a huge value or will get around to it later.
That is the main difference between Apple and other companies; they will focus on polishing the features they think are important first and then move on to others later.

Limegrntaln says:

What about the frequency. It was thought to have one or two more frequency options than the previous iPhones.

icebike says:

It is not a technical feat to hook up one additional lead on a chipset to enable the FM radio. Usually connecting it to DC Ground is sufficient to allow the earphones to serve as an antenna.
There are plenty of of Android phones that do this, with similar (if not exactly the same) Broadcom chipsets. See HTC, Moto and Samsung all have such models.
Apple has the advantage of the metal rim around the phone, they could have used that as an antenna.
So, @Dimwit was probably closer to the mark. Apple has no economic incentive to hook up the FM radio.
Personally, I suspect the FM is already wired with an antenna, and you get to wait for that till next year, when the next software is released and Steve can announce it on stage and it will be a ground breaking amazing incredible A+ upgrade that is amazingly easy to use and a major innovative accomplishment that will simply be amazing.

Hurry up FedEx says:

The FM chip is for interfacing with Nike+
Theoretically it can be enabled for FM radio but that would defeat the purpose of having backgrounded slacker and pandora.
The 3gs had this chip as well, which is why you could use Nike+ without the interface kit required by the 2nd gen ipod. The 3rd gen ipod also has this chip.

Dimwit says:

How much music can you stream a: when the network coverage sux? And b: on 200Mb data plan?
The fm reciever is not enabled so you will need to load up on mp3 & aac. Preferably from the iTunes store. PERIOD.

Dimwit says:

Having said that, I don't care, as the only time I would use the fm radio would ba at work and there is way too much interference there.
As for the alleged underclocking of the A4, this is why I thought that making the iPhone even thinner than it already was was a mistake. A few more milimeters would have allowed for a larger battery as well as better handling of the heat produced by the processor. In spite of everything, I can hardly wait to get my hands on my iPhone 4

estebancam says:

What? The iPhone does NOT have a 1.3 mp camera in the front. Its a VGA camera. Much lower resolution.

ren says:

FM would be nice so I the battery would last longer than streaming a station plus I would rather hear a local commercial than the same internet comericail every break. As far as revenue they could introduce tagging for the Fm radio so when you here a song u like you can buy it. I think that option would sell more songs for iTunes.

seb_or_sam says:

Just because the clock speed is 1 GHz doesn't mean it's actually running at 1 GHz... Apple has always underclocked iPhone and iPod touch processors, I could see them doing it again.