MediaFile

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.

Chipmakers most creative, drugmakers least?

Chipmakers including Intel and Qualcomm make up the world’s most innovative industry, according to a new analysis of patents by Thomson Reuters that is equally notable for some of the companies it does not include.

Thomson Reuters has just released its “Top 100 Global Innovators” list, which it compiled by scrutinizing patent data around the world using a peer-review methodology it developed.

“We tried to take an objective look at technology innovation and apply a composite measure not just of volumes, but also of influence in terms of citations of later published patents, in terms of globalization of patenting,” says Bob Stembridge, the lead analyst behind the study.

Tech wrap: Apple sues Samsung over “slavish” copies

An employee of Samsung Electronics demonstrates Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet during a photo opportunity at a showroom of the company in Seoul January 18, 2011. Reuters/Lee Jae-WonApple sued rival Samsung Electronics claiming that Samsung’s Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablet “slavishly” copies the iPhone and iPad, according to court papers. The lawsuit, filed on Friday, alleges Samsung copied the look, product design and product user interface of Apple’s products. Samsung violated Apple’s patents and trademarks, the suit alleges.

Twitter is in talks to buy TweetDeck for around $50 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. TweetDeck is an add-on program that helps Twitter users view and manage their tweets and messages on other services such as those offered by Facebook and Foursquare. Twitter has allowed advertisers’ “promoted tweets”, that show up when users perform searches on Twitter, to appear on TweetDeck as part of a revenue-sharing agreement, The WSJ wrote.

Texas Instruments’s quarterly earnings missed Wall Street expectations by a penny as expenses rose after two of its Japanese factories were damaged in the country’s largest-ever earthquake. The company, which plans to buy analog chip maker National Semiconductor Corp for $6.5 billion, said one of its factories will “soon” resume full production, and added that it expects a strong second half.