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1/10/2007
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What's In Apple's iPhone And Who's Building It?

Hours after Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's iPhone, analysts were busy speculating on which chip vendors and system houses have notched up design wins and manufacturing contracts.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hours after Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's iPhone, analysts were busy speculating on which semiconductor vendors and system houses have notched up design wins and manufacturing contracts.

According to a report from FBR Research, the winners are Samsung Electronics (applications/video processor), Marvell (802.11), Infineon Technologies (baseband), Broadcom Corp. (touch screen controller), and Cambridge Silicon Radio (Bluetooth).

FBR believes that Apple has contracted with Taiwan suppliers for 6 million units this year, with an option for another three million units if demand is good. The phone is slated to go on sale in Apple and Cingular Wireless stores in June, with a hefty price tag of $499 (4 GByte) and $599 (8 GByte)—and that apparently already includes the subsidy from Cingular based on a two-year contract.

A report from Macquarie Research noted several Taiwan companies will also benefit, including Foxconn International (assembly), Catcher and Foxconn Tech (stainless casing and mechanical parts) Cheng Uei and Entery (connectors/cable and Bluetooth module), Unimicron and Tripod (PCB), Largan Precision (camera lens) and Altus (camera module).

Although Palm and RIM stocks took a hit yesterday after the phone was released, Macquarie expects that Sony-Ericsson's Walkman line of phones will be under the greatest threat since they are also music oriented phones. Nokia's 5300 and N73 may also be affected.

In general, Taiwan's High Tech Computer will probably weather the release of the iPhone pretty well, at least in the early days. Many of HTC's Windows-based phones, including its popular Dopod designs, are a little cheaper and target the business crowd. The same goes for RIM and Palm. Apple's iPhone is limited to 2.5G and with its music focus is very much a consumer-centric device.

FBR Research also noted that Samsung appears to have won the combined video and applications processor socket in the latest video iPod, codenamed M45, which will launch in the third quarter. It replaces Nvidia in that role.

Analysts earlier predicted that media processor maker PortalPlayer Inc. would supply an applications processor for the iPhone.

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