Apple iPhone 5s 64-bit A7 chip made by Samsung

It's not surprising, but it is finally confirmed: the vaunted A7 chip in the iPhone 5s is made by Samsung.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey

Samsung recently said that it is planning to have 64-bit chips in its own range of smartphones — turns out it may have had a head start.

Apple's A7 is the first 64-bit ARM processor to land in a smartphone. (Credit: CNET)

Chipworks, working with iFixit, has torn down the iPhone 5s, allowing it to be verified that Samsung is the manufacturer of the A7.

There has been some speculation that the A7 would be made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), but this now appears more likely for the A8.

AnandTech has noted that a die photo from Chipworks (below) shows a dual-core A7 central processing unit (highlighted with the yellow border), while the area with the light-blue border reveals "four replicated blocks with some shared logic in between" — which is the "4-cluster" PowerVR G6430 graphics processing unit (GPU) from Imagination Technologies.

The M7 co-processor — designed to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass — is separate from the A7, and is from NXP.

The A7 uses a 28-nanometer manufacturing process rather than the previous 32-nanometer tech.

Die photo of A7: AnandTech speculates that blocks within the yellow border comprise the dual-core Apple A7 CPU. (Credit: Chipworks with highlighted areas via AnandTech)