We’ve already seen teardowns of the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2, but a rather brutal teardown by Vietnamese site Tinhte has given us our first look at the rather astonishing amount of technology packed inside Apple’s deceptively simple-looking 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter.

There had been some speculation about whether Apple had managed to squeeze a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) into it or whether the company would instead find a way to do simple pass-through audio. I was certain it had to have a DAC, and this has now been confirmed …

The teardown has none of the finesse we’re used to seeing from iFixit: this one involves pliers, knives, files, soldering-iron and even nail-clippers!

After a lot of cutting, tearing and ripping of the rubber coating, the circuit board is finally exposed, revealing the DAC labelled ‘338S00140/A0QK1623/TW.’ No manufacturer is shown, but Cirrus Logic and Dialog Semiconductor are both reported to offer products which match the spec. The DAC found inside the Lightning EarPods is said to be a minor variant on the same chip.

The double-sided circuit board reveals the standard Lightning chip on the other side, surrounded by a number of capacitors.

Hats off to the site for successfully getting into something that was clearly designed as a sealed unit. You can watch the video below.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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