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iSuppli strips down Apple iPhone and iPod touch differences

An iSuppli Teardown Analysis has stripped down the exact differences between the revolutionary Apple iPhone and the very similar looking iPod touch, unveiled in September.

While the two models have “a 90 percent commonality in terms of components” – for example, Samsung’s video/applications processor as key IC at their core, a chip based on an ARM microprocessor core, a power-management IC from NXP Semiconductors and the use of stacked on-package memory – iSuppli declares the iPod touch is no iPhone clone.

This is the verdict of Andrew Rassweiler, teardown services manager and principal analyst for iSuppli.

“Click Wheel-interface and Hard-Disk Drive (HDD)-based versions of the iPod are expected to wane in favour of touch-screen and flash-memory-equipped models like the iPod touch,’ says Rassweiler. “But despite its functional and physical outward resemblance to the iPhone, and the fact that its internals borrow heavily from the iPhone, the iPod touch is no iPhone clone, and has its own unique design.”

Delving into more detail, iSuppli notes design departures for the latest iPod, declaring it “uniquely optimised to meet its form-factor and cost requirements”. For example, the iPod touch makes use of advanced packaging for its components not seen in the iPhone, including 0201 diodes and passive components in 01005 enclosures on the touch’s WLAN module.

“This is the first time iSuppli has seen these components in a product we’ve torn down,” said Rassweiler. “Apple products always seem to push the envelope in terms of space savings, and therefore we often first see the newest, most-compact components in Apple products.”

Other differenc es include memory density and the PCB design. The high-end version of the product includes 16GB of NAND flash memory, for example, more than any product in the Apple iPod line (the high-end iPhone offers only 8GB of NAND flash). The iPod touch also employs a single PCB as opposed to the iPhone’s modular two-PCB design.

There is also a new set of components to support the iPod touch’s Wireless LAN (WLAN) functions, according to iSuppli, and the location of the touch-screen circuitry is on the main PCB, rather than on the touch-screen module.

More detailed information on the teardown analysis will be available form iSuppli at www.isuppli.com.

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