New iPad Using Same Camera Sensors Found in Older Products

Following on iFixit's disassembling of a new iPad they purchased in Melbourne, Australia yesterday, Chipworks has begun sharing the results of their iPad teardown.

5mprearcam
The most interesting -- though perhaps unsurprising -- discovery is that Apple has apparently reused cameras from prior products for both the front and rear cameras on the new iPad. The rear camera, pictured above, appears to be the same 5 megapixel CMOS Image Sensor that was used in the iPhone 4.

That unit was the Omnivision OV5650. The OV5650 is the second generation back illumination (BI) technology from OmniVision. This 5 Mp camera features 1.75 µm pixels, and is designed to deliver DSC quality in a mobile phone application. The sensor supports HD (1080p) video at 60 fps. Apple specifications for the new iPad also tout the same specification. So the analysis we have just completed… drum roll please... says that the 5 Mp back illuminated CMOS Image Sensor in the new iPad is the same, it is the Omnivision OV5650 (die mark OV290BF).

The front camera in the new iPad is the 0.3 megapixel Omnivision OV297AA unit seen previously in the iPad 2 and the old camera-equipped iPod Nano. Chipworks notes that this isn't the first time Apple has recycled parts into new products, and that the strategy keeps costs and technological risks low.

Chipworks has a few other notes from the teardown, as well, including the observation that Apple is dual-sourcing DRAM for the iPad 3. iFixit's unit utilized DRAM from Elpida, while Chipworks' unit has DRAM from Samsung.

A5XGSM
Additionally, Samsung is the foundry for the A5X processor and Apple is again using the company's 45nm CMOS manufacturing process. The A5X's die is 36.5% larger than its predecessor, measuring 162.94 mm^2 versus 119.32mm^2 for the A5. Chipworks is continuing to examine the A5X and promises additional cross-section photos soon.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)
Related Forum: iPad

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Top Rated Comments

basesloaded190 Avatar
160 months ago
The iPhone 4 doesn't have a bad camera so I see no harm in using the same for this iPad
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
diamond.g Avatar
160 months ago
Makes you wonder if the iPhone 4 could do 1080P video if it had dual core CPU...
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
basesloaded190 Avatar
160 months ago
Yes it does. It always left a green circle in many indoor pictures.

https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=971132

The 4S fixed this.

That's right, I forgot to ask you if the camera was bad because the hundreds of good pictures that I have taken don't count.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fertilized-egg Avatar
160 months ago
The iPad 3 is shaping up to be a repeat of the iPhone 3G (read: only survives one iOS update before becoming slow enough to impair its usefulness).
I think that comparison is invalid. The biggest problem with iPhone 3G was its lack of RAM when iOS was upgraded, which isn't a problem with the new iPad as it now has 1G of RAM.

I predict next year the new iPad will be released with 1G of RAM and the same Retina display, and people will complain how that isn't a "true" upgrade because the display, LTE and the RAM have not changed, telling everyone how they'll wait for "iPad 5" which will be the "true hardware upgrade". Then the next year people will complain how the new iPad isn't a true upgrade and...well you get the point ;)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tarproductions Avatar
160 months ago
1080p at 60fps would be pretty impressive, and something that only high end cameras can do currently. Are you sure?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vol7ron Avatar
160 months ago
As I've alluded to in other threads, a 45nm A5X is a deal-killer for me :(. The "iPad 3" is essentially an underpowered version of the iPad 2 considering the display's high resolution and lack of CPU/GPU clock increases. The next iPad will benefit from a full node shrink to (presumably) 28nm on BOTH the CPU and the 4G baseband; likely in addition to new CPU (Cortex A15) and GPU architectures. The iPad 3 is shaping up to be a repeat of the iPhone 3G (read: only survives one iOS update before becoming slow enough to impair its usefulness).

This is in addition to the battery problems the iPad 3 is likely to experience: that 45nm A5X is BIG for a mobile SoC, and will be generating a lot of heat. Hot iPad innards = significantly diminished Li-Ion battery lifetime.

Looking forward to the "iPad 4"... Android's non-GPU accelerated UI just won't do it for me.

I fail to see how the GPU being doubled in its architecture is underpowered? The CPU means squat in this case. It is all based upon the GPU in this case. With 4 cores being able to process the display, then I don't get what the problem is. Yes the SoC uses a bigger form factor, but it doesn't seem to be generating outrageous amounts of heat. Definitely not enough to significantly diminish the battery.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)