Mystery chips, no PortalPlayer inside new iPod nano

As shown in our disassembly photo gallery, the new second-generation iPod nano has three Apple-marked chips of unknown origin and no chip from PortalPlayer. According to a Wedbush Morgan Securities report, one of the Apple-marked chips is a Samsung ARM processor, occupying the socket formerly supplied by PortalPlayer. Earlier this year, PortalPlayer warned that Apple would not use its chips in the next nano, followed by reports that Samsung had won an Apple contract to supply chips for new iPods.
Wolfson and Philips chips are also not apparent, but are believed to be the other two Apple-branded components. The report also noted that Cypress Semiconductor, Linear Technology, National Semiconductor, and Silicon Storage Tech maintained their sockets in the new nano. Wedbush said Apple purposely “concealed the identity of its chips and their suppliers” with the new nano models.

The Wedbush report also said that Apple is likely to generate higher gross profit margins from the new nano line this holiday season. Craig Berger of Wedbush Morgan Securities estimated that Apple’s gross margins could be as high as 50% on the new nanos due to the falling price of NAND flash. Apple’s new nano line retails for $149 to $249; Berger believes it’s costing Apple anywhere from $74.90 to $143.90 for the parts to manufacture line.

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