Apple's Prototype iPhone 5S Based on New A7 Chip

Last week, we shared a pair of photos of Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S, revealing a few details such as a larger-capacity battery and a new dual-LED flash system for the rear camera. At the time, we had some questions about the main chip from the device, which lacked an A-series identification printed on it and which carried date codes indicating that it had been manufactured in October 2012.

We have now received several additional photos showing the device in greater detail, with a particular emphasis on the main chip.

iphone_5S_5_side_by_side

Prototype iPhone 5S (left) vs. iPhone 5 (right)
Click for larger

As seen in one photo, the chip carries an Apple model number of APL0698, suggesting that this is indeed intended to be branded as an A7 chip rather than a modification on the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5. The original A6 chip carried a model number of APL0598, with the A6X found in the fourth-generation iPad carrying an APL5598 model number, demonstrating how Apple varies the first digit for members of a given A-series family and increments the second digit when transitioning to a new family.

iphone_5S_chip

Main A-series chip from prototype iPhone 5S

Apple's pattern of model numbers can be seen even more clearly in the A5, which has seen several different variations over its lifetime. That chip debuted with an APL0498 model number, with a later die shrink carrying an APL2498 model number. Yet another version of the A5 appeared earlier this year in a tweaked Apple TV, with that chip carrying an APL7498 model number.

Additional markings on this new iPhone 5S chip indicate that it carries Elpida DRAM, apparently in the same 1 GB amount seen on the A6.

In addition to the 1243 date code visible in the previous photo, the new photo also clearly shows another date code of 1239 for the DRAM, indicating that that portion of the chip was manufactured in late September 2012. We have also determined that the device itself was assembled in December 2012, making it a rather early prototype.

Another item of interest on the main chip is a K1A0062 identifier. We spoke with Dick James and Jim Morrison of chip teardown firm Chipworks, and they pointed out that in previous chips this number has typically started with an "N" and referred to a Samsung part number on the die. They wonder whether this new "K" identifier could indicate that the chip is being made by TSMC instead of Samsung. A transition from Samsung to TSMC has long been rumored, although the latest rumors indicate that the move will be made with the A8 chip rather than the A7.

iphone_5S_rear_text

Closeup of text on rear of prototype iPhone 5S (IMEI obscured)

Additional photos reveal a clearer view of the text on the rear of the device showing placeholder model and regulatory identifiers of X1234X, as well as a clear view of the rear camera system with dual-LED flash.

iphone_5S_camera_flash

Rear camera, microphone, and dual-LED flash on prototype iPhone 5S

Top Rated Comments

mozumder Avatar
99 months ago
Nice! The Dual Flash looks like they're separated for Tungsten color balance and Daylight color balance..

This means your nighttime party pics aren't going to be as harsh-blue and will match room lighting.


The colored flash matches a tungsten filter. For example:
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
putongnihongo Avatar
99 months ago
Give me 128 gb capacity and "Shutup and TAKE MY MONEY!!!":D:D:D:D:apple:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael73 Avatar
99 months ago
Shaping up to be a worthy update for those of us who have 4Ss on a two-year upgrade cycle. :D
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yascott Avatar
99 months ago
Black front panel with naked aluminum shell, please.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oliversl Avatar
99 months ago
Dual color flash?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ryth Avatar
99 months ago
Just hurry up and come out already and take my money.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
google maps detailed street level e1611052089473

Google Maps Gains Enhanced Street-Level Detail in Four Major Cities

Tuesday January 19, 2021 2:34 am PST by
Google Maps has quietly been updated to include significantly more detailed street-level information in a handful of key cities around the world. Upon zooming in, Google's maps for Central London, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York now benefit from shapes and widths that match the scale of roads more accurately. Meanwhile, enhanced graphical representations of sidewalks, crosswalks,...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
airpods max sim ejector

AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

Tuesday January 19, 2021 8:25 am PST by
It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway. Image via Prelook In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately....
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
shot on iphone 12 apple

Apple Highlights Photos Shot by iPhone 12 Users: Portraits, Cityscapes, and More

Tuesday January 19, 2021 6:05 am PST by
Apple today shared a gallery of photos shot by customers using the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with scenes including cityscapes, landscapes, portraits of people, and more at day and night. Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by "NKCHU" in China (top) and shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max by Rohit Vohra in India (bottom) iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 models have a dual camera ...
Apple and Hyundai feature

Apple Car Production Again Linked to Kia Motor's US Plant in Georgia

Tuesday January 19, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Hyundai intends to transition the company's Apple Car involvement to its Kia brand as part of an internal arrangement that could see production move to the U.S., according to a new report today. On Sunday, Korea IT News reported that Apple and Hyundai are seeking a partnership agreement for the upcoming Apple Car by March, and that the electric vehicles could be made at a Georgia factory...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...