Advanced Connectivity Solutions
100 S. Roosevelt Avenue, Chandler, AZ 85226-3415
Tel 480.961.1382 • Fax 480.961.4533
18 JAN»FEB 2017»
components into a small form factor and
sealing it with a copious amount of glue
were a game, Apple would be winning.
That game now includes the world’s
cutest (and smallest?) coaxial connector.
Dangling off to the side is one of the two
IR proximity sensors that the AirPod
uses to detect when it’s in an ear.
What remains in the earbud is a hot
mess of cables and adhesive, so now we
turn to the stem. By surgically removing
the stem’s plastic casing, we’re able to
peel that long
golden array! The cable weaves into an
intricate speaker assembly that houses a
proximity sensor and some antenna lines.
We bust out our microscope to get
a look at these tiny chip markings:
Apple 343500130 is suspected to be
the W1wireless communication chip
Cypress CY8C4146FN programmable
system on a chip; Maxim 98730EWJ
low power stereo audio codec; Texas
With the AirPods well destroyed, we
turn to its seamless-looking case. Inside
the heavily-armored charging case is the
battery, tucked into a cozy slot within
the polycarbonate fortress. This 3.81 V,
1.52 Wh lithium-ion cell has roughly 16
times the power capacity of the ones we
dug out of the AirPods’ stems—meaning
you should be able to top them up at
least a few times between case charges.
We loosen a
pair of Phillips
screws to access
pop its press
the back of the
logic board. Inside the charging case is a
STMicroelectonics STM32L072 ARM
Cortex-M0+ MCU, NXP 1610A3
charging IC, and Texas Instruments
BQ24232 power management IC.
Our final thoughts: The glue is the only
external fastener used in the case or
earbuds. All in all, accessing any case
components is impossible without
destroying the outer case.
Apple EarPods were standard issue with iPhones released before the
iPhone 7. So what happens when Apple
releases a phone with no headphone
jack? They release wireless headphones.
Are the new Apple AirPods worth the
wait? Only one way to find out.
Each AirPod weighs 0.14 oz ( 4 g),
while the charging case weighs 1.34 oz
(38 g). Utilizing Bluetooth technology,
Apple’s new W1 chip enables wireless
connectivity, and in-ear detection
is achieved by microphones, optical
sensors, and a motion accelerometer.
Beamforming microphones are coupled
with an additional accelerometer in
order to filter out unwanted noise.
The earbuds are covered in dots: grilles
for speaker action, microphone holes for
those noise-canceling secondary mics,
and black dots for IR proximity sensors.
X-rays give us a peek at what’s inside,
some grilles, and that microphone; the
rest is a mystery to
With no visible
fasteners in sight,
aggressive heat and
knife tactics reveal
some tightly-packed parts. If
WHAT MAKES IT TICK & TALK?
Breaking it up and breaking it down.