Apple Watch’s S1 Chip Made With Samsung’s 28 Nanometer LP Process

Several reports have been published over the past week detailing the internals of the Apple Watch. Today, further investigation from Chipworks has revealed 30 individual components side the Apple Watch’s S1 chip.

Chipworks has made a few interesting discoveries about the Apple Watch, among which is the manufacturing process for the APL0778 application processor (CPU/GPU) on the S1 chip. The application processor was made on top of Samsung’s 28 nanometer LP process.


This process is no longer cutting edge technology. Samsung’s 28 nanometer process was used in the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus used a 20-nanometer process. Samsung is currently developing a 14-nanometer process, which may be used in the next iPhone along with many other new smartphones shipping this year.

In future iterations of the Apple Watch, we expect the company to use the 14-nanometer process which would bring a jump in performance and make room for additional components or a larger battery. Here is a list of some of the other key findings Chipworks made in their teardown:

– Dialog has the PMIC socket for the watch, but Maxim got the codec and amplifier sockets. What happened to Cirrus? They had been the incumbent in iPhones and iPads for several generations.

– NXP scored the NFC and secure element and interface socket and Austria Micro Systems got the NFC signal booster

– STMicroelectronics not only grabbed the 6-axis sensor, but they also have an ST32 MCU within the S1, as well as the optical emitter/sensor encoder die under the shaft of the Digital Crown.

– Texas Instruments has 6 wins in the S1 ranging from battery management to opp amps.

– Skyworks Wi-Fi LNA + switch and PA


iFixit has partnered with Creative Electron to use X-rays to show you exactly what the Apple Watch is made of. The S1 chip is the densest part of the Apple Watch and the flash storage looks to be flip-chipped onto the substrate. Be sure to read iFixit’s full X-ray teardown from this link.

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