AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.
As anticipated, a teardown of Apple's Lightning EarPods and Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter — both included with the iPhone 7 — has discovered small digital-to-analog converter chips, though their exact supplier remains a mystery.
The DAC in the EarPods was labeled "338S00140 / A0QK1623 / TW," while the one in the adapter was marked "338S00140 / A0MU1621 / TW," according to Vietnamese site Tinhte. The "TW" could be a reference to Taiwan, where a number of Apple suppliers are based.
The chips were likely designed by Apple's usual partner on such components, Cirrus Logic, but manufactured by another firm — possibly Taiwan-based TSMC, which also manufactures Apple's A-series processors. In 2015, Cirrus reportedly switched back to TSMC from Vanguard International Semiconductor.
The iPhone 7 is Apple's first major product to completely abandon a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack in favor of Lightning and Bluetooth audio. Because many people still rely on 3.5-millimeter accessories — an industry standard — Apple bundled the adapter by default, despite the new EarPods and the growing prevalence of Bluetooth headphones and speakers.