Insights From Leading Edge

IFTLE 355 iPhone 8 Teardown; NHanced Semi; Morris Chang to Retire

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

iPhone 8 Teardown

TechInsights has begun their teardown of the iPhone 8. [link]

Pics of the main board are shown below.



techinsights 2-2 TechInsights 1-2

– The AP (application processor) is in a Package on Package (PoP) with Micron 3GB Mobile LPDDR4 SDRAM.

– The biggest new feature of the AP at announcement is a dedicated “Neural Engine” primarily for Face recognition.

– The video performance is claimed to be the highest quality video capture available in a smartphone. The AP features an Apple-designed video encoder enabling 4K video at 60 fps and Slo-mo 1080p video at 240 fps.

– For we packaging aficionados, the big news is the absence of TSV arrays in their CIS. Preliminary analysis of the die photo suggests to TechInsights that it’s a Sony back-illuminated Exmor RS stacked chip from which they infer that the stack is using hybrid bonding (what Sony licensed from Ziptronix) for the first time in an Apple camera. [see IFTLE “Updating CMOS Image Sensor Technology”]

The SEMI 3D Packaging and Integration Committee

The SEMI International Standards Committee, at their SEMICON West 2017 meeting, approved the transformation of the existing 3D Stacked IC Committee and Assembly & Packaging Committee into a single, unified 3D Packaging and Integration Committee [link] with a charter to:

To explore, evaluate, discuss, and create consensus-based specifications, guidelines, test methods, and practices that, through voluntary compliance, will:

  • include the materials, piece parts, and interconnection schemes, and unique packaging assemblies that provide for the communication link between the semiconductor chip and the next level of integration, either single- or multi-chip configurations. It relates to the technologies for heterogeneous and other multi-chip packaging such as Fan-out/Fan-in Wafer Level Packaging, Panel Level Packaging, Three-Dimensional Stacking IC, device embedded packaging, flexible electronics technology
  • promote mutual understanding and improved communication between users and suppliers, equipment, automation systems, devices, and services
  • enhance the manufacturing efficiency, capability and shorten time-to-market and reduce manufacturing cost

You can get involved with the SEMI International Standards Program at:

Enhanced Semiconductor

NHanced Semiconductors Inc. was launched as a spin-off of Tezzaron Semiconductor in 2016. In the course of developing its advanced 3D memory devices Tezzaron developed technical expertise in ancillary semiconductor technologies.  While Tezzaron will continues to develop and manufacture memory devices with specific focus on its DiRAM4 products, Bob Patti, Bob Patti, past CTO of Tezzaron informed IFTLE that NHanced Semi exists to implement and expand that expertise for process development, prototyping, small volume manufacturing. “We will help determine the optimal packaging solution for customer needs.  If they need custom design work, we can do that; if their design is complete, we’ll assist with 3D or 2.5D enablement.  Sourcing, manufacture, assembly, test – we will handle the entire process from concept to completion”

NHanced Semi has recently completed the purchase of the former Morrisville NC Novati fab, the fab that used to be Ziptronix. Bob indicated that Nhanced will be doing customer R&D development projects and then passing them off to partner Novati to scale and commercialize. Nhanced has replaced tools that Novati had shipped from Morrisville to Austin and their full line in Morrisville should be operational shortly. The 24,000 square foot fabrication Morrisville, NC facility is equipped for rapid prototyping, with a focus on 2.5D and 3D integrated circuit assembly. Current equipment can perform surface prep, bonding, thinning, and pick-place on multiple wafer sizes (100mm to 200mm). NHanced is currently quoting and taking orders for 4Q activity

Speaking of Novati, a recent report from Austin indicates that they have been acquired by start-up Skorpios, a fabless semiconductor manufacturing company producing communications products. [link]

Morris Chang announces retirement

When a wise man speaks it is best to listen. Certainly we must all agree that Morris Chang, the “father of Taiwans chip industry,” who has led TSMC, for 30 some years, is a wise man. Long time IFTLE readers will recall my encounter with Chang in the late 1990’s when I was visiting TSMC introducing materials for bumping. He personally attended this low level meeting telling me “I need to better understand this bumping technology…so teach me”

Well, Morris Chang, 86, has announced that he will retire in June, after having built the world’s biggest foundry chipmaker [link].

Earlier this summer, this wise man was quoted as saying “Packaging can extend physical limits of semiconductors…” [link]

Chang identified the impact of packaging on high-performance computing applications such as AI and deep learning, graphics processors, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications which he feels will drive future IC market growth.

We are all aware that TSMC has developed a new generation of packaging , its integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging (WLP) technology and has recently expanded its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate 2.5D (CoWoS) technology to the fabrication of 16nm chips, and offered second-generation High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) and a GPU modules to support artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning and other high-performance computing applications.

When a wise man speaks, it is best to listen!

For all the latest in Advanced Packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…


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One thought on “IFTLE 355 iPhone 8 Teardown; NHanced Semi; Morris Chang to Retire

  1. Dr. Dev Gupta

    What improvements did Apple iPhones did really get by changing the packaging for their A10 and A11 (?) processors from FC on Core Substrate to TSMC’s inFO WLP ? (1) better yield / lower cost ? hard to tell when the Foundry bundles packaging with their die, (2) more headroom over the PoP due to a thinner package allowing better convective cooling / a thinner system overall ? NO, (3) higher memory bandwidth / lower power to xfer data ? as the in FO has just RDL, no bumps, coreless, no long through vias, hence at least theoretically somewhat lower parasitics, also more vertical interconnects ( those Cu pillars ) between the Processor and the Memory chips, NO at least from performance benchmarks no better than a competing processor with LP DDR4 that still uses FC packaging (4) what was proved by putting the 100 mm sq A10 die in an inFO package however is that at least it did NOT have any warpage / CPI ( low – k ILD ) issues due to the absence of the stiffening core.

    But in April ’17 there were reports from Taiwan about delays to iPhone 8 plus due to issues with the A11 package ( in FO ? ).

    On the other hand by getting Apple to agree to switch from FC to in FO, the Foundry was able to get into the higher margin Adv. Packaging business, exercise their new FO WLP line for HVM, get it ready for other applications like SiP where in FO makes a lot of sense, gain a lot of visibility with other potential customers.

    FC on Coreless substrates w/ 5 um L/S is electrically just as good as FO WLP w/o some of the yield and availability issues of the latter.


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