More than half of the components used in the iPhone 5 are made by Japanese manufacturers, an inspection has shown.
An electronic-appliances analyst who dismantled Apple Inc.'s latest smartphone and inspected each component with a microscope concluded that the iPhone's reliance on Japanese components shows Japan still has a lead in parts manufacture, even if it no longer dominates in making must-have gadgets.
Minatake Kashio of Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, an expert in dismantling and analyzing electronic devices, bought an iPhone 5 at a SoftBank Mobile Corp. outlet and inspected its 1,000 or so components.
He identified the manufacturers on the basis of each component's markings and shape, or by speaking to knowledgeable sources.
The iPhone 5 uses about 5 percent more parts than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, Kashio said.
Murata Manufacturing Co. accounted for the largest number of components, including more than 400 capacitors. Murata has more than a 30-percent global share in capacitors.
One of the Murata items used is a cutting-edge capacitor that fits a stack of 100 ceramic films into a tiny, 0.2-millimeter body.
The iPhone 5 also contains the world's smallest power coils and transistors, which were manufactured by TDK Corp. and Rohm Co. especially for it.
Qualcomm Inc. of the United States and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea provided processors, including the unit's central processing unit, its brain, but Japanese manufacturers accounted for the bulk of the capacitors and transistors controlling currents in the iPhone's circuits.
The liquid crystal screen is made by Japan Display Inc., which introduced a groundbreaking technology to embed touch-screen functions within the panel and therefore to reduce its thickness.
Sharp Corp. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. are thought also to be providing display panels, Kashio said.
The camera's image sensor and the unit's lithium-ion rechargeable battery come from Sony Corp., an Apple rival.
Semiconductor chips that drive the display are from Renesas Electronics Corp., whereas memory devices for storing data are from Toshiba Corp. and Elpida Memory Inc.
The electronic-parts industry is basking in the Apple boom. Plants operated by Elpida and Japan Display that manufacture parts for Apple are operating at full capacity.
But a senior official from one manufacturing company warned that the industry should prepare for what comes next.
"It is essential to apply the technological developments to other fields as well so that the boom does not end in a one-time bubble," the official said.
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