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iPhone prototype teardown reveals unique, tiny logic board

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
The prototype iPhone that found its way outside of Apple's grasp was disassembled, revealing a tightly packed interior with much smaller components, allowing the device to be thinner than its predecessor while also making space for a much larger battery.

The teardown by Gizmodo found that the main logic board of the prototype iPhone was about one-third the size of the board that controls the current-generation iPhone 3GS. "Basically, the guts have shrunk drastically," author Jason Chen wrote.

Those smaller components allowed Apple to cram a battery that is 19 percent larger than the current iPhone's power supply into the prototype device. And while the discovered hardware was thinner, it also reportedly weighed 3 grams more than the current-generation handset, thanks to the larger battery.

Taking the device apart proved to be difficult, with between 40 and 50 screws inside the prototype iPhone. Chen also dispelled a rumor that the battery on the handset is user-removable -- the tightly packed case must be disassembled to access the battery.

"Everything fits in here like an intricately-designed jigsaw puzzle," the report said. "This is definitely laid out like a final product. To think that there's more room left for any components for this case is unreasonable. Unless Apple decides now to go with a larger case so they can fit more things in there, this is the most that we're going to see this summer."

As to whether the device sports a custom-built Apple processor, like the iPad's A4 CPU, that remains a mystery. The main logic board was encased in metal and could not be removed without breaking the device, and did not feature markings to indicate where its components originated.






Gizmodo shocked the tech world and gained a great deal of mainstream publicity when the Gawker Media-owned website revealed on Monday that it had obtained a prototype iPhone. The new hardware featured a forward-facing camera, high-resolution 960x640 pixel display, camera flash and a secondary mic for noise cancellation.

Its design is also a significant change for the iPhone, which has looked largely the same since the device was first unveiled in 2007. Apple changed the back of the device to be completely flat, with a material said to be made either of glass or plastic to improve reception.



The device was allegedly found at a bar in Redwood City, Calif., where an Apple software engineer reportedly left it by mistake. It was wrapped in a casing that disguised it as an iPhone 3GS.

Gawker Media paid $5,000 to an unknown party to receive the device. After it was disassembled and revealed to millions of Internet readers, Gizmodo reportedly returned the device to Apple.
post #2 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

iPhone prototype teardown foreshadows longer battery life

The larger battery will be negated by a faster processor. I think the battery life will stay about the same.
post #3 of 88
Is Gizmodo not in the fire now that they've posted more of Apples trade secrets after being informed of ownership?
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After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
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post #4 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple changed the back of the device to be completely flat, with a material said to be made either of glass plastic to improve reception.

"either of glass plastic?"

There was some talk that it was ceramic, based on previous patents applied for by Apple.
post #5 of 88
Wait, wait. Apple Insider just posted an article a while back saying that Gizmodo basically stole Apple's iPhone and they could face prosecution.

Yet, AI STILL keeps linking to Gizmodo and using their pictures. If Gizmodo is so damn bad, stop linking their isht!
post #6 of 88
I think we'll see improved battery life.

If we get a OLED screen and improved components (read, more energy efficient) then battery life could very well improve.

I'm wondering what they run the A4 at in the phone. 800Mhz tops???
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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post #7 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proximityeffect View Post

The larger battery will be negated by a faster processor. I think the battery life will stay about the same.

Or the flash - for the camera.

Basically some kind of flash will drain battery life, it just won't come from Adobe.
post #8 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Wait, wait. Apple Insider just posted an article a while back saying that Gizmodo basically stole Apple's iPhone and they could face prosecution.

Yet, AI STILL keeps linking to Gizmodo and using their pictures. If Gizmodo is so damn bad, stop linking their isht!

BAD GIZMODO! (link link link) YOU'RE SO BAD GIZMODO! (link link link link) oh BOY Gizmodo are you gonna get SUED (link link linkity link link - thread thread thead - linkbait linkbait linkbait).
post #9 of 88
Could be bigger than Mitchell Gant stealing Firefox
post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.No View Post

BAD GIZMODO! (link link link) YOU'RE SO BAD GIZMODO! (link link link link) oh BOY Gizmodo are you gonna get SUED (link link linkity link link - thread thread thead - linkbait linkbait linkbait).

LOL. +1

But what I want to know is, if they couldn't turn the screen on, how do they know what the resolution is? Are they just assuming the pixel count will be increased, or can they tell without having the screen on? Just wondering.
post #11 of 88
Jason,

You know you have voided the warranty, Apple will not fix it.

SJ
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #12 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by iReality85 View Post

LOL. +1

But what I want to know is, if they couldn't turn the screen on, how do they know what the resolution is? Are they just assuming the pixel count will be increased, or can they tell without having the screen on? Just wondering.

It booted into recovery mode ("Plug in USB cable"). They noticed that the image on screen of the USB cable looked uber high rez.
post #13 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proximityeffect View Post

The larger battery will be negated by a faster processor. I think the battery life will stay about the same.

I would agree if it was the same amount of silicon, but that is not the case.

There are apparently fewer chips in this prototype than the current iPhone 3GS. We could be in store for some serious battery life improvements.
post #14 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Could be bigger than Mitchell Gant stealing Firefox

This story kind of reminds me of an incident back in the 60's where a defecting Russian pilot flew the then new and top secret Mig 21 to Germany. The Russians demanded the immediate return of the Mig. It was shipped back to the USSR in several crates after the CIA and USAF had completely disassembled it.

In another incident, China returned the favor when if forced a Lockheed EP 3E to land on a island in the PRC. The Chinese disassembled the electronic surveillance equipment. The US was later allowed to ship the aircraft out of the PRC.
無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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無心 The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders., Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit__Edward Abbey
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post #15 of 88
Here's something I hadn't thought of -- from iFixIt's CEO:

Quote:
What sucks for Apple is if they have to cut features for some reason. Of course the prototypes would have all the features theyre considering (flash, camera, etc.). But realities force feature removal at the last minute, like they did with the iPod Touch. Im sure the iPod Touch prototypes had cameras in them.

http://bit.ly/c8YAZc
post #16 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The prototype iPhone that found its way outside of Apple's grasp was disassembled...

Aside form the stunning illegality of this move (taking it apart), I wonder if any of them had the brains to use gloves. You gotta figure Apple is going to fingerprint and test for DNA on every surface.
post #17 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proximityeffect View Post

The larger battery will be negated by a faster processor. I think the battery life will stay about the same.

Battery life will increase. That is the biggest complaint from normal people. Apple branded hardware means nothing that doesn't need to be there. Improvements in CPU energy draw and less silicon all point to a possible 2 more hours of usable, batter life.
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #18 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

... If we get a OLED screen and improved components (read, more energy efficient) then battery life could very well improve. ...

There is not going to be an OLED screen. For starters, they suck (they aren't as attractive or adaptable to different environments as the screens they currently use), and they are more expensive.

Apple has, over the last year and a bit, started putting IPS LCD panels in all their devices from the iMac to the iPhone. These are by far, the very best type of screen you can get today and were previously only available in the ACD's, (considered for many years to be the best or as good as the best screen money can buy).

OLED screens are poorer at colour reproduction, offer poorer image quality in direct sunlight, and are more expensive than the currently used screen.

Changing to an IPS panel would be a huge improvement and quite likely. Changing to an OLED would be a huge disadvantage and simply won't happen. Companies like Microsoft like to use them because the average user (being, you know .. average), doesn't know that the colour reproduction is awful and actually *like* the over-saturated over-contrasty look. Apple on the other hand makes quality products for the discerning eye.
post #19 of 88
Can't wait! I was eligible to replace my 3G in January but I decided to hold off until the 4G. Definitely looking forward to a camera flash. I saw a friend take a picture with a Droid in a dark bar and was amazed how good the flash was.
post #20 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

This story kind of reminds me of an incident back in the 60's where a defecting Russian pilot flew the then new and top secret Mig 21 to Germany. The Russians demanded the immediate return of the Mig. It was shipped back to the USSR in several crates after the CIA and USAF had completely disassembled it.

In another incident, China returned the favor when if forced a Lockheed EP 3E to land on a island in the PRC. The Chinese disassembled the electronic surveillance equipment. The US was later allowed to ship the aircraft out of the PRC.

Your memory, and your analogies, are excellent, sir!
post #21 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonefree View Post

Can't wait! I was eligible to replace my 3G in January but I decided to hold off until the 4G. Definitely looking forward to a camera flash. I saw a friend take a picture with a Droid in a dark bar and was amazed how good the flash was.

You've never seen what a flash can do with a camera before you saw what the Droid could do in a dark bar?

Really?
post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Battery life will increase. That is the biggest complaint from normal people. Apple branded hardware means nothing that doesn't need to be there. Improvements in CPU energy draw and less silicon all point to a possible 2 more hours of usable, batter life.

Agreed. The A4 chip (or whatever A class chip Apple will use) was most likely made with power efficiency in mind. Considering that the new laptops and iPad have staggeringly long battery life, one would expect the iPhone to follow suit.
post #23 of 88
this would mean that apple iPhone 3GS sales will decline since people from around the world will wait for the said 4th Gen iPhone whom Gizmodo dissect.. Damn Good!!! Hope the said Processor will be much more faster than 800Mhz..
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post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Aside form the stunning illegality of this move (taking it apart), I wonder if any of them had the brains to use gloves. You gotta figure Apple is going to fingerprint and test for DNA on every surface.

And once they positively ID each and every one of the perpetrators, Apple will put out contracts on them or arrange to leave horse heads on their beds while they're sleeping.

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post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.No View Post

BAD GIZMODO! (link link link) YOU'RE SO BAD GIZMODO! (link link link link) oh BOY Gizmodo are you gonna get SUED (link link linkity link link - thread thread thead - linkbait linkbait linkbait).

haven't laughed that hard in a while...
post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Could be bigger than Mitchell Gant stealing Firefox

More than anything I agree with your sig!

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #27 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

haven't laughed that hard in a while...

Same here, almost in tears from laughing.

In a bit of related news, "The iPhone Kid" Apple employee's body has been found at the bottom of a ravine in Cupertino. Authorities are baffled.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #28 of 88
I wonder what happened to all of those naysayers from yesterday?
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #29 of 88
For one it looks like the design is maximizing the volume available for the battery. As a 3G owner I can say that is a good thing _ a very good thing.

I'm not convinced this is an A4 based product. For one rumors have been around that PA was split into two teams, one for iPad class devices and another for cell phone sized devices. Of course that is rumor. What isn't a rumor is the power use of A4 and the iPad which only gets it's ling life from the large battery.

So from the point of pure speculation I'm going to suggest that Apple might go multi processor with A5. That is the new ARM A5 core which is someplace above the ARM11 and below A8. By going dual processor they can keep the clock rate extremely low yet still deliver good performance.

Multiple core actually ought to work well on iPhone to deliver good performance. Especially with the rumored coming of GCD and other features of OS4.0. Think about where or when iPhone currently slows down noticably. For example am E-Mail coming in while you are editing a text field. Multiple processors would help greatly to take care of threads (spell checking) and background apps. The trick though is not to give up to much in single thread performance.

This is where I see a multi processor running extremely low power cores doing an excellent job. The actual clock rates might even be lower than the GS. The flip side here is that the extremely small PC boards imply highly integrated silicon which would tend to counter indicate A4.


Dave
post #30 of 88
Here and elsewhere I'm reading requests for faster processor at x-speed, but there doesn't seem to be a reasoning for these speeds, just a desire because the number sounds good.

Wanting a faster processor and/or more RAM because there is a HW limitation that is affecting how your device works, sure, I get that, but I don't get wanting an A4 at 1GHz or 800MHz if the system feels consistently instantaneous at, say, 750MHz and offers better battery life because of it.

The 3GS was the first iPhone that actually felt like the HW was faster than what the OS needed. Stepping that up would be great, but so would stepping up the battery duration with an under-clocked A4 designed for power efficiency.

I wish they could have taken a look under the hood. The double stacking of chips is a huge change from the 3GS and earlier. I've seen nothing that compares so I have to think there are more than a few chips they'd combined to fit this board.

The 3GS logic board: http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/ig...I2UNWjYJ.large (image)

PS: My calculations get a 16.4% larger battery, not 19%.


Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Agreed. The A4 chip (or whatever A class chip Apple will use) was most likely made with power efficiency in mind. Considering that the new laptops and iPad have staggeringly long battery life, one would expect the iPhone to follow suit.

And if you look at the Nexus One with a 1400mAh battery, 1GHz Cortex-A8 Snapdragon and 512MB RAM and you have a battery that is only slightly worse than the iPhone 3GS. Apple's use of a tailored OS to tailored HW could definitely improve on that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

In a bit of related news, "The iPhone Kid" Apple employee's body has been found at the bottom of a ravine in Cupertino. Authorities are baffled.

That's him getting off easily if he's not a donor match for Jobs. I fully expect Jobs to force him to work at Apple, locked up in some dark for which he can't escape, just waiting for someone to harvest his organs for Jobs if and when he needs them.
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post #31 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

i would agree if it was the same amount of silicon, but that is not the case.

There are apparently fewer chips in this prototype than the current iphone 3gs. We could be in store for some serious battery life improvements.

from you mouth to apples ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #32 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I think we'll see improved battery life.

If we get a OLED screen and improved components (read, more energy efficient) then battery life could very well improve.

I'm wondering what they run the A4 at in the phone. 800Mhz tops???

Unless it's the new Samsung AMOLED displays, I don't want it.

Even if it's that, from what I've been reading, I don't want it.

The truth is that so far, AMOLED displays are not that great. There are two areas in which they're better. One is blacks. You can't get better than no light from a pixel. The other is viewing angle. Very good.

But, an IPS display has a viewing angle almost as good, and it's an argument as to how important viewing angle is for a small screen such as we see on handheld devices. Blacks are also much better on IPS screens. So in those areas, if Apple goes with IPS, as they did with the iPad (assuming that they can get an IPS screen that small), there won't be much of an advantage to AMOLEDs there either.

The bad things about AMOLEDS.

Much worse outdoors than a good LCD.

Garish colors. Looks good to the untutored eye, but is terrible reproducing a photo or video.

Efficiency of the current generation is NOT better than an LED backlit LCD display. This is why we see AMOLED devices using black for so much of the GUI. No AMOLED phone has better battery life, and some are worse.

As for Samsung's new AMOLED displays. At first they look good. They are significantly brighter and more efficient (which is why they are brighter). But there seems to be a problem with them. The resolution is not what is advertised! To me, that is cause to not use them:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/...-and-hacks.ars
post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proximityeffect View Post

The larger battery will be negated by a faster processor. I think the battery life will stay about the same.

One of the interesting things about the A4 is what it doesn't have. It's not a general purpose CPU with a bunch of stuff taking up space and power that Apple will never use.

I think it's safe to assume there is some sort of Apple designed chip(s) in there as the size of the logic board is dramatically smaller. And just because it's (undoubtedly) faster, I wouldn't assume it's automatically going to consume more power. There is much more to the whole power consumption equation than just one factor like clock speed.

Which is the real reason Apple went down the path of acquiring PA Semi in the first place
post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

I would agree if it was the same amount of silicon, but that is not the case.

There are apparently fewer chips in this prototype than the current iPhone 3GS. We could be in store for some serious battery life improvements.

The camera flash will drain the battery, so that would be a reason to use a bigger battery. If the flash can be used during video recording as a constant light, that will REALLY drain the battery!

I was disappointed to see just one LED. Phone LEDs don't give much illumination. Two would give one stop more, enough for a 50% longer shooting distance.

The new HTC Incredible uses two.
post #35 of 88
From Visual:

Truly new 3rd Gen iphone !!! here is how and why

1st iphone: Sandwich PCB x 2 with Batter aside.
2nd 3G and 3Gs one PCB x 1, LCD PCB but most area single side surface mount technology and Battery so Sandwich again.
Those we offen see in most or say all cell phone, computer designs.

But, from Gizmodo's latest Post and compared with ifixit iphone 3GS break down( see PCB pic) I have come with following:

Apple has a new break through "Double side" PCB that has

CPU/GPU like A4, Storage, GSM/3G, (largest in die size) surface mounted on both side of PCB. But PCB may be more difficult to produce.

Bluetooth/wifi on one chip at tip of PCB (pic18),

new single power management chip vs 3 chips from 3GS.

and other components fit to rest area both side which is advanced iPad PCB design

but iPad has more space and did not needed to be shrink as this new iphone needed.

so there are more simplified new design in all including less chips (components) and power needed.

We may be able to see 8Gb iphone again ! why? when I have an "iPad" and will not need 32GB or 64GB on iphone to carry a high price tag and 8GB and 16Gb won't increase on price at store.

Larger battery indeed is better, for flash, video, music, game play, longer talk and stand by time.

I can't wait to have it in hand, wait and see it June ! Gizmodo was too chicken to break the PCB cover...
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

For one it looks like the design is maximizing the volume available for the battery. As a 3G owner I can say that is a good thing _ a very good thing.

I'm not convinced this is an A4 based product. For one rumors have been around that PA was split into two teams, one for iPad class devices and another for cell phone sized devices. Of course that is rumor. What isn't a rumor is the power use of A4 and the iPad which only gets it's ling life from the large battery.

So from the point of pure speculation I'm going to suggest that Apple might go multi processor with A5. That is the new ARM A5 core which is someplace above the ARM11 and below A8. By going dual processor they can keep the clock rate extremely low yet still deliver good performance.

Multiple core actually ought to work well on iPhone to deliver good performance. Especially with the rumored coming of GCD and other features of OS4.0. Think about where or when iPhone currently slows down noticably. For example am E-Mail coming in while you are editing a text field. Multiple processors would help greatly to take care of threads (spell checking) and background apps. The trick though is not to give up to much in single thread performance.

This is where I see a multi processor running extremely low power cores doing an excellent job. The actual clock rates might even be lower than the GS. The flip side here is that the extremely small PC boards imply highly integrated silicon which would tend to counter indicate A4.


Dave

We don't even know if this has anything to do with PA. It could be an Intrinsity diddled product.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...sign-house.ars

http://www.samsung.com/us/business/s...o?news_id=1115
post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Wanting a faster processor and/or more RAM because there is a HW limitation that is affecting how your device works, sure, I get that, but I don't get wanting an A4 at 1GHz or 800MHz if the system feels consistently instantaneous at, say, 750MHz and offers better battery life because of it.

Thank you. MHz or other such tech specs are really irrelevant - what's the end user experience? That's the true gauge. It's why Apple hasn't said anything about the A4 other than it's name - they want to emphasize the experience of the device over meaningless feature and specification lists.

However, having said that, I hope the new phone is a significant improvement, the lags while scrolling around in podcasts in the iPod app on the iPhone is really annoying, esp. after owning and using an iPad for the last couple of weeks - the speed of the iPad SMOKES the 3Gs now
post #38 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Here and elsewhere I'm reading requests for faster processor at x-speed, but there doesn't seem to be a reasoning for these speeds, just a desire because the number sounds good.

Wanting a faster processor and/or more RAM because there is a HW limitation that is affecting how your device works, sure, I get that, but I don't get wanting an A4 at 1GHz or 800MHz if the system feels consistently instantaneous at, say, 750MHz and offers better battery life because of it.

The 3GS was the first iPhone that actually felt like the HW was faster than what the OS needed. Stepping that up would be great, but so would stepping up the battery duration with an under-clocked A4 designed for power efficiency.

I wish they could have taken a look under the hood. The double stacking of chips is a huge change from the 3GS and earlier. I've seen nothing that compares so I have to think there are more than a few chips they'd combined to fit this board.

The 3GS logic board: http://s1.guide-images.ifixit.com/ig...I2UNWjYJ.large (image)

PS: My calculations get a 16.4% larger battery, not 19%.

Apple is now in a trailing position as far as phone features go. While they've been trying to make people forget about the GHz race, it's on again. Can they come out with a phone with less than what their competitors have? That could be a perceptual problem. People who own iPhones will think one way, but the rest may think another.

Your battery calculations are correct. How do I know? I got the same results, so you MUST be correct.
post #39 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple is now in a trailing position as far as phone features go. While they've been trying to make people forget about the GHz race, it's on again. Can they come out with a phone with less than what their competitors have? That could be a perceptual problem. People who own iPhones will think one way, but the rest may think another.

That might be why Apple is marketing the iPad processor as A4. You give it a marketing term that the public at large can cling to then including details that most don't know about or care to know about is fine. The results of the experience will speak for themselves.

While Apple stated the iPad speed, that might be a unique case with direct marketing appeal for the this new product category. I don't think any pocketable iDevice has ever listed the processor speed or RAM on the spec sheet. Something I've seen with PMPs over the years yet that didn't help their sales in the end.

Now battery duration, Apple loves to post that stuff and they list more specific usage info than any other consumer device I've seen. I think most mobile vendors just list the 3G talk time and standby time.

Quote:
Your battery calculations are correct. How do I know? I got the same results, so you MUST be correct.

The chances of both of us being wrong at the same time are astronomical, as would be our egos to actually think that.
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post #40 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The camera flash will drain the battery, so that would be a reason to use a bigger battery. If the flash can be used during video recording as a constant light, that will REALLY drain the battery!

I was disappointed to see just one LED. Phone LEDs don't give much illumination. Two would give one stop more, enough for a 50% longer shooting distance.

The new HTC Incredible uses two.

Frankly, I don't see average Joe Consumer taking that many flash photos with their iPhone every day to drain their batteries that much.

Personally, I would like to see Apple keep the megapixel count fairly low and work on better low-light performance from the camera sensor. For video recording, that makes a lot more sense. On-board camera illumination really isn't sufficient for good results unless you have a big-ass light that is pleasant off-camera and softboxed.
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