Teardown experts crack open Apple’s new iPad

The electronics hardware experts at iFixit find themselves again in the spotlight as they crack open the latest iPad to see what chips, display and other components make it tick. Teardowns, as they’re called, are closely followed by investors betting on which companies supply components for consumer electronics devices like Apple’s massively iPads and iPhones.

iFixit sent its engineers to Australia, where they managed to buy one of the first new iPads to be sold, and — fueled by cans of Red Bull –  proceeded to crack it open with tools ranging from guitar picks (to pry open the cover) to “spudgers” (for poking and prodding at wires).

They’re live-blogging the entire affair, but so many people appear to be watching that iFixit’s webpage is responding very slowly.

UPDATE – Photos from the teardown appear to show a Broadcom chip, which iFixit says is a baseband/WiFi/Bluetooth component. You can also see silicon from Avago, which specializes in semiconductors used to keep different kinds of radio frequency chips from interfering with each other, and another chip from Texas Instruments.

Being chosen for an Apple product may be a double-edged sword for chip companies. On one hand, inclusion in an iPad or iPhone suggests a company’s chips must be top-notch. But on the other hand, with Apple’s reputation for squeezing its suppliers to get the lowest price possible – these companies might not be making a ton of profit. 

SuVolta takes wraps off battery-friendly chip technology

Silicon Valley start-up SuVolta is giving the electronics industry a peek under the hood at its new technology that it claims will drastically boost the energy efficiency of microchips.

That’s something chip designers are focusing more and more on as people increasingly rely on smartphones and tablets that chew up battery charges.

SuVolta says it can halve the amount of power used by chips without affecting their performance, and it is debuting the details of its technology to scientists at the 2011 International Electron Devices Meeting on Wednesday in Washington, DC.

Tech wrap: Broadcom buys NetLogic

Chipmaker Broadcom Corp plans to buy NetLogic Microsystems Inc for about $3.7 billion to expand its lineup of chips used in wireless network equipment to take advantage of growing demand for mobile data services.

Google Inc’s effort to break into the daily deal industry and challenge industry leaders Groupon and LivingSocial is not going well, according to data released on Monday.

Analysts are predicting that Nintendo will sell fewer 3D handheld players according to Bloomberg.  3DS sales are expected to be 16 percent less than Nintendo’s annual goal of 16 million units.

Broadcom’s Nicholas heads south for July 4 weekend

Indicted Broadcom Corp co-founder Henry Nicholas III on Monday asked the federal judge presiding over his upcoming stock options backdating and drug possession trials to let him travel to Mexican holiday spot Cabo San Lucas with his family for the July 4 holiday weekend, court documents showed.

Prosecutors and guarantors of Nicholas’ $3.3 million bail had no objection to the plan for Nicholas to leave the United States on Friday and return on July 8, the documents showed.

Nicholas’ bail conditions bar him from leaving the continental United States without court permission and call for drug testing, home detention and electronic monitoring. His attorney, James Riddet, said Nicholas will not fly “or have possession of his personal airplane during this trip”.

Apple, Yahoo, Broadcom – all up in relief rally?

Jittery technology investors breathed easier on Tuesday after Apple, Yahoo, VMware and Broadcom all gave quarterly reports that were not as bad as some had feared — and in some cases, even were pretty good.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Yahoo CEO Jerry YangApple said it sold 6.9 million iPhones , 11 million iPods and 2.6 million Macs (Aren’t we supposed to be on the brink of recession?) Apple shares jumped 11 percent, and here’s what fund manager Ted Parrish at Henssler Asset Management LLC had to say:

The company has one of the best product pipelines, I think, and I don’t see any changes in that in the near-term. The laptops complement the group of the iPhones and iPods, and any improvements in the operating system will help take some Windows business from Microsoft. Looking further out, I think Apple is in the catbird seat.