Saturday, October 15, 2011

RF Module Winners in iPhone 4S

There are already teardowns of the iPhone 4S online, so let's look at the winners in the RF frontend section. Skyworks, TriQuint and Avago all have RF modules in the handset. All of the companies stock prices were up on the news last week. Below is a breakdown of the modules with a picture of the board containing the RF section.

  • Qualcomm RTR8605 Multi-band/mode RF Transceiver. Chipworks has provided a die photo (orange)

  • Skyworks 77464-20 Load-Insensitive Power Amplifier (LIPA®) module developed for WCDMA applications (yellow)

  • Avago ACPM-7181 Power Amplifier (green)

  • TriQuint TQM9M9030 SAW filter (blue)

  • TriQuint TQM66052 (possibly a PA-Duplexer Module) (purple)

Photo and part numbers/descriptions via

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Microwaves in Manchester - EuMW 2011

Most of the MWJ editors and staff arrived in Manchester, UK on Sunday for the largest Microwave Conference and Exhibition in Europe, European Microwave Week. There are about 1400 delegates registered for the technical sessions this year and the content appears to be very good. I sat in on a few sessions ranging from emerging technology such as graphene FETs to more mature high efficiency GaN amplifiers.

The exhibition started on Tues and were well attended even through Wed. The Manchester Central facility has a nice layout where all the sessions are very close to the exhibition floor and entrance so finding your way around is relatively easy. The exhibition floor is wide open with a very high roof as it was an old rail station converted into an exhibition center. The major T&M companies like Agilent, R&S and Anritsu have the largest booths up front with other major players like CST, Ansys, AWR, NI, TriQuint, Sumitomo, Cobham, etc. having large booths right behind them. Over 200 companies are represented here . We see a lot of activity in GaN, non-linear modeling, wideband components and test systems, advanced materials and improved packaging.

There has been an emphasis on recruiting young engineers to the field, especially in Europe, including emphasis on more women as evidenced by the Women in Microwaves sessions. Several companies have applications that will engage young people such as Ansys' high frequency educational toolkit in conjunction with Anritsu and Eductika. We talked with Dr. T at NI about this subject, and he indicated that NI also has Labview based programs to engage young engineers in high school and college so several companies are doing something about the problem.

MWJ organized the Defence and Security Forum which was extended to a full day after its success last year in Paris. The morning sessions concentrated on security issues covering UWB and TeraHertz imaging for IED detection, through the wall imaging and detection of threats hidden on the body. The lunch and learn session was given by Strategy Analytics on the future budget trends in a declining budget atmosphere. The afternoon sessions were dedicated to an industry perspective on future challenges for radar and EW. A representative from Thales and Cambridge Consultants spoke first followed by an industry panel including representatives from Agilent, NI, NXP, RFMD and TriQuint. The day's events were concluded with an executive forum covering future needs and trends in defense related to microwave technology. Hundreds of attendees participated in the day's events.

The exhibition is wrapping up tomorrow and MWJ has shot about a dozen videos which will be posted online in a couple of weeks. The videos covered many product demos from the exhibition plus interviews with the president of EuMA, Dr. T from NI and representatives from AWR.