28-nanometer May 7

Nearly two weeks after the product’s official release, Chipworks has updated its earlier Apple Watch teardown to note several significant details, most notably that Apple’s latest processor uses a 28-nanometer building process that has already been leapfrogged by newer technology. The discovery reveals that the S1 — believed to be roughly equivalent in processing power to Apple’s A5 processors — can be readily evolved using the smaller 20-nanometer process used in Apple’s current A8 processors, as well as the cutting-edge 14-nanometer process that’s reportedly being used in the upcoming A9. This is good news for next-generation versions of the Apple Watch, as they will be able to easily fit faster or more power-efficient processors in the same space as the S1.

As highlighted in separate chip teardown and X-ray analyses released today by Chipworks and iFixit (partnered with Creative Electron), the S1 packs over 30 components into a resin-covered package, including everything from wireless chips, wireless charging, audio processors and sensors to the CPU itself. The CPU is again said to be Samsung-fabricated, continuing the unusual frenemy relationship between Apple and one of its chief consumer electronics rivals. Several of the beautiful iFixit/Creative Electron X-ray images of the Apple Watch are included below…

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28-nanometer August 12, 2011

Taiwan Economic News is reporting that local Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (TSMC), the company slated to supply Apple with the A6 processor after a shift from Samsung, has begun trials of the new chip made with the company’s “newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies”. However, dont expect to see the A6 in a new iteration of the iPad anytime soon, as the report suggests the processor wont be officially unveiled until Q2 of next year, at the earliest.

Included in the report:

TSMC has applied its newest 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies to produce the next-generation processor A6, which is based on the ARM architecture and will undergo TSMC’s cutting-edge silicon interposer and bump on trace (BOT) methodologies. Industry insiders said that the manufacturing will help to pump considerable momentum into TSMC’s business growth starting next year, though the company has yet to comment on the deal for the moment.

This contradicts an earlier report thru Reuters which stated that test production had already begun in July.  Both reports agreed that the final A6 processors would be complete and ready for iPad 3 in early 2012.  EETimes had reported the move back in March which was said to involve Apple’s current A5 chip but that never materialized.

An Apple switch to TSMC would obviously be a huge blow to ‘frenemy’ Samsung who currently makes the iPad CPU, DRAM and supplies Flash storage as well.

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