iPad Memories

March 24, 2011

…or Memory Magic via More Than Moore

Toshiba 16 Die Stack (64 GB NAND Flash)

No this isn’t a soliloquy to an Apple iPad that is no longer, but a brief tour of the incredible memory, packaging, and system technology that can be found under the hoods of the original iPad and the iPad 2 along with some of the manufacturing and test implications. These devices clearly demonstrate the new paradigm of “More Than Moore where scaling of systems and packaging will propel the next wave of growth in electronics beyond the traditional doubling of performance every two years predicted by Moore’s Law. For many in semiconductor packaging and test engineering communities the issues related to More than Moore have been an academic discussion up to now, but clearly the success of the iPad product line shows the current reality for advanced devices and where the future is headed. Apple and their suppliers took huge risks in developing these new technologies in exchange for substantial returns.

As I recently noted in “Memory Alphabet Soup“, the most pressing question about memory most consumers currently have is “which iPad 2?” – 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB? If Mr. Jobs believed in Read the rest of this entry »


HOW and WHY things work!

July 9, 2010

The Art of the Teardown...

Miss Peach by Mell Lazarus (2/17/1974)


As a child I spent a lot of time taking things apart. My parents were relieved when a Miss Peach cartoon identified my behavior as explorative engineering rather than plain old fashioned destroying things. I was reminded of this again by the rash of recent blogs/articles by companies such as UBM Techinsights and Chipworks that estimate the cost of the iPhone 4 and similar devices-du-jour through teardowns. An excellent blog post last week by Steve Cheney recalled for me there’s a lot more to the story than simply documenting the bills of material (BOM) and estimating component costs.

Yes, it is interesting to know that the 16 GB iPhone 4 costs Apple approximately $188 in material and that you can buy one from AT&T (with a 2 year contract) for about the same price ($199). However, as a consumer, knowing this is simply “academic” since I can’t use this data to change the outcome: I either buy the phone or I don’t. Is there more to the story? Is there any real commercial value to a teardown?
Read the rest of this entry »