The guts of Apple’s newest gadgets are usually the subject of great scrutiny, largely because they push the technological limit on what is possible in cramming a computer into a phone.

Today, the latest guts have spilled out of the new Apple phone for the world to see. Samsung manufactures the system-on-a-chip  inside the new iPhone 3G S. The Samsung-made SoC package, holds the microprocessor, graphics, and memory chips for the phone.

That’s a big score for Samsung, since everyone from Texas Instruments to Nvidia wants to get inside the iPhone. Chip makers scramble for the chance to make tens of millions of units. But the choices here are not a big surprise, since Samsung makes the processor for the earlier iPhone models, and Apple has invested in Imagination Technologies, which designs the PowerVR graphics.

Anandtech has a geeky tour of the iPhone’s guts. It’s amazing how much computing power can be packed into a phone. But software developers always find a way to use it. The new phone has an ARM11 processor with Cortex A8 features and with SGX graphics from PowerVR. The combination may or may not be more powerful than the Palm Pre.

The new iPhone 3G S, which hasn’t made its way into buyers’ hands yet, has a 600 MHz processor and a PowerVR SGX graphics processor. T-Mobile’s Dutch website published the specs. The older iPhone CPUs ran at 412 MHz. On top of faster speed, the new iPhone 3G S’s chips can do more things at once than the older phones.

The processor meets the specs that had been rumored earlier this year. The specs make Apple’s claims of two to three times faster performance for common tasks believable. The iPhone 3G S is said to load the New York Times almost three times faster than the current iPhone 3G. Excel spreadsheets load 3.6 times faster. Hubert Nguyen of Ubergizmo says the improvement in games is like making the leap from the graphics quality of Valve’s Half-Life to Half-Life 2, two games with six years between them. Nguyen says you will be shocked at how good the second generation iPhone games will be.

Games are likely to benefit from the better graphics processor, which like more modern graphics chips has programmable functions. The processor also supports Open GL ES 2.0, a mobile graphics standard, while the earlier phones support only OpenGL ES 1.1. That means that games will have to have split personalities and be able to run both types of graphics in the future.

The new iPhone 3G S graphics won’t look as good as the newest graphics for a PC (no surprise there, since PC graphics always burn too much power for mobile phones). But the graphics should be anywhere from 2.5 times to seven times faster than the older phones on graphics.

[Photo by Anandtech]








VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.