Upon tearing down the iPhone 4, it didn’t take iFIxIt long to discover that Apple was employing dual microphones to improve audio quality while simultaneously suppressing distracting background noise. Now, 11 months later, iFixIt and Chipworks have finally been able to identify the audio chip manufacturer responsible for the iPhone 4’s noise cancellation feature.
The chip in question comes from Audience, the same company that supplies high-end voice processors on products like Google’s Nexus One and is by all accounts considered an industry leader. Now as to why it took so long to identify Audience, well that has to do with Apple, in typical fashion, having Audience remove any discernible markings that would identify the chip’s origin.
There was one small, 3mm x 3mm chip that we weren’t able to identify during our teardown. It was white-labelled, meaning Apple asked the manufacturer to remove their branding from the package to make it difficult for folks like us to identify. The markings on the chip ’10C0 01S8 0077′ didnt match any existing part in our database, and we didn’t pursue it further. This part turned up again this February when we got our hands on the Verizon (CDMA) iPhone 4.
Here it is to the right of the A4 chip.
So what gave it away?
Well, Chipworks decapped the chip and found an “Audience” die marking, confirming that Audience was responsible for “for the audio signal processor in the iPhone 4.” The report also relays that as a result of the audio chip, “the iPhone’s audio cancellation capabilities are very impressive, outperforming just every non-Audience powered cell phone we’ve tried.”
The discovery, the report notes, is another important design win for Audience who already supplies audio chips into smartphones from the likes of Samsung and HTC.