Apple S1: riddle enclosed in a mystery

Introducing the Apple Watch on 9 September 2014, about the processor used it is not even mentioned. Why? Apple was going to sell millions of copies, the Apple Watch. They, of course, was some kind of chip, most likely their own development – but the circular wheel and the sensors on the back side of the clock is much more important.

About what inside the Apple Watch, the world learned only in April-may 2015, when the first copies fell into the hands of morbidly curious earthlings, some of which immediately scratched, and cutting layer by layer in special devices began to examine them in the electron microscope.

From September 2014 to April 2015 what’s inside “the small size of the failure of the Apple” could only guess. On the mysteries, being under a subscription about nondisclosure, even the closest and even the most innocuous questions are not answered.

Even a lot of money – there is in our world where reputation is more valuable than money. What is almost impossible to believe, we will assume that even these very big money just was not enough.

This continuation of the series Pro processors from Apple. Previous parts:

The first part: In the shadow of the Apple A4;
Second part: the birth of the “Apple” of the processor;
Part three: Returning to the beginning of beginnings: Apple A6/A6X (Swift);
The fourth part: the Cyclone comes to replace the Swift (Apple A7);
Fifth part: one “NeXT” or coprocessor for fitness (Apple M7);
Sixth part: turns into Typhoon Cyclone (Apple A8).

Guesses and assumptions

About processors for iOS devices, something you can find digging in the settings and “plist”files beta versions of the operating system. Even before the release of iOS devices with these processors onboard, and official releases of new versions of iOS. In the case of Apple Watch to investigate there was nothing.

Based on available data, the experts came to the conclusion that inside something similar to the Apple A5 and the GPU is likely the fifth PowerVR series from Imagination Technologies. PowerVR SGX543 likely.

Only Apple A5r3, 1-nuclear and released by Samsung on the technology of 32 nm, of all that existed at that time fit for the Apple Watch in performance, size and, apparently, efficient. However, the processor in the Apple A5 was designed by Apple, and the idea that this timepiece is something different, too, spoke.

This we now know that this version was the only possible and absolutely correct, but then, she took the honorable second place.

Apple “the letter”+”number”

In one there was no doubt this will be a chip (or other form of microscopic assemblies) with the designation of either Apple A5, W1, or Apple, or Apple with some other letter and number. Well, not printed on the same cards, all filling devices with screens from 1.32 and 1.5 inches diagonally (38 and 42 mm)?

Filling the Apple Watch called the Apple S1, and was not a chip. It was system-in-a-package, or SiP. System consisting of individual components and packaged in a rugged housing and is filled with filling compound to protect against dynamic loads.

Components are APL0778, single-core 32-bit processor architecture ARMv7-Apple, with an integrated GPU, PowerVR SGX543MP1. RAM – 512 MB DRAM from Elpida. Flash memory – 8 GB, SanDisk and Toshiba.

Among the components were a lot of interesting, but armv7k, binary code format for the Apple Watch, aroused serious concern. This format was used quite rarely, and it was painted all sorts of horrors.

Surely nobody will be able to decrypt applications for smart watches from Apple, with the most noble purpose of all in this world – out of curiosity? The company sells smart device can be the secret every breath, but can prevent a person who bought one of them to take it apart to the last screw, nobody can.

In binary format all is OK

23, 2015 Steve Trafton Smith tweeted some good news: one of the first binary codes after trying the Apple Watch in the program Hopper, he found what he sees as the most common armv7k armv7m, and understands it without any problems.

With this day, neither watchOS, no programs for her secrets left. It is a pity, isn’t it?

The truth about some of these mysteries can be read in the documentation, not even between the lines, but not about everything. Not wanting to distract developers from their work, and most importantly, to introduce them to the temptation to serve them a bad example about many things Apple was just silent.

When I worked for Apple in response to my “why” they were doing a very special person, and raising his finger to the sky with a very strange expression say “this is politics!”

Looked like the Apple S1

The company’s specialists Tech Insight has published his pictures, painted in detail what is what. The case when one picture is worth many pages of text. This contradicts one of the theories of JEF Raskin, but judge for yourself.

Portrait Apple S1:

To be continued

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