Upon a close analysis of the video introduction of Apple Watch, in which Apple delayers what it calls the heart of the watch, the “S1″ custom designed chip, the folks over at Chipworks have concluded that Apple’s wearable may sport WiFi chips supplied by Broadcom.
During the course of this explanation, Apple shows viewers a delayering of the S1 board used in the device. Below are some of the board layouts, showing the chips and their contacts to the circuit board. Taking screen captures was challenging, but we managed to get the following images:
Our guess is that the large chip in the center is the Apple S1 application processor. To its right is likely a flash chip, in the top left (next to the RF connector) is an RF part and on the left, surrounded by resistors and capacitors, is a power management IC. What really caught my eye is the part located in the centre at the top. The pattern of contacts beneath it shows that it is a wafer-scale package flip-bonded directly to the board. To me, that pattern looks like a WiFi chip layout.
When Chipworks compared the pattern on the board to the most likely Broadcom WiFi chips, the pattern of contacts matched a BCM4334 single-chip dual-band combo device. It must be kept in mind however that the Apple Watch shown in the video is clearly a prototype. So while we cannot be certain if it will be in next year’s product, Chipworks says that the chip has been “a winner for Broadcom” for the last couple of years.
According to Broadcom’s website, the BCM4334 is a single-chip dual-band combo device supporting 802.11n, bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM receiver. It provides a complete wireless connectivity system with ultra-low power consumption for mass market smartphone devices.
Back in April, Apple hired two high-level baseband engineers from Broadcom, who had played a key role in reshaping Broadcom’s mobile communication unit.