iPad 2 teardown shows the winners and losers among Apple’s suppliers

As soon as the Apple iPad 2 went on sale today, the teardown crew at iFixit got their hands on one of the device’s and tore it apart. In a 23-step process, they took the iPad 2 apart piece by piece to reveal Apple’s design on a granular level.

The teardown reveals the components inside the tablet computer and who made them. The information is instructive because Apple’s suppliers could generate a lot of sales providing parts for the iPad 2, which is likely to sell in the tens of millions of units. Getting a peak inside the iPad 2 is like looking inside an engineering marvel, where everything has its place and is packed as tightly as possible to save on space and cost.

Broadcom is one of the clear winners, since it has several chips in the device. They include a Broadcom BCM5973KFBG microcontroller for the touchscreen, a Broadcom capacitive touchscreen controller, and a Broadcom combo chip that handles Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and FM tuner functions. That’s the same chip as used in the iPad and iPhone 4.

The device has some previously known components. It has a 1-gigahertz dual core Apple-designed A5 ARM-based processor. That chip is most likely fabricated by Samsung, but the teardown doesn’t reveal who made the chip. The A5 processor has manufacturing dates of late January and mid-February, which means that production was gearing up at the last possible minute. The chip has a built-in graphics system from Imagination Technologies.

Of course, companies such as Intel, Nvidia, Marvell and more would love to be inside this machine. But no such luck this time around.

The device has 512 megabytes of LPDDR2 random access memory, or the main memory that stores data when the machine is running programs. It has a 9.7-inch LED backlit multitouch display and a couple of cameras. It’s sound speaker is mono, not stereo.

The lithium ion polymer battery is a 3.8 volt 25-watt-hour unit, which gives the machine its 10-hour operational battery life. This particular device has Toshiba NAND flash memory that has 16 gigabytes of storage. Other models have 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash. It also has a Dialog Semi power management chip and a Texas Instruments touchscreen line driver. There is also a Cirrus audio codec.

STMicroelectronics makes both the accelerometer and the gyroscope chips that enable you to control the machine by tilting it in different directions. As for ease of repair, iFixit rates the machine at 4 out of 10.