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Apple now reviewing potential components for next-gen LTE iPhone

post #1 of 45
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Apple is reportedly moving along with development of its next-generation iPhone, and is now reviewing parts submitted by suppliers for potential use.

Apple is currently in the midst of a testing and evaluation period with potential components, investment firm Barclays reported Wednesday in a research note obtained by AppleInsider. Among the parts Apple is expected to utilize are Qualcomm's "MDM9615" LTE chip, which supports both voice and data connections on high-speed 4G networks.

That chip would be a change from the new iPad, which features Qualcomm's "MDM9600" modem. But that hardware only offers data connections over 4G LTE, not voice.

Like the iPhone 4S, the next iPhone is expected to be a "world" device compatible with a variety of 4G LTE networks. That's different from the new iPad, which comes in two different models compatible with Verizon and AT&T wireless networks in the U.S.

In addition to Qualcomm, companies that are said to be supplying potential components to Apple are chipmakers Skyworks Solutions, TriQuint Semiconductor, and Avago Technologies.




Barclays sees Skyworks Solutions emerging as a likely winner with Apple's sixth-generation iPhone, which it expects will launch this September. For Apple, the addition of a 4G LTE radio is expected to cost between $3 and $10 extra versus the 3G radio in the iPhone 4S.

The timeframe presented by Barclays aligns with a report from last month which indicated that the next iPhone will arrive in September or October of this year. That would be about one year after the arrival of the iPhone 4S, which marked the change of Apple's typical iPhone launches in June or July.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 45
When the article says "voice", does that mean support for VoLTE?
post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

When the article says "voice", does that mean support for VoLTE?

Yes, the MDM9615 should support Voice over LTE, though Verizon and AT&T won't be turning it on their networks until next year.
post #4 of 45
But I thought AT&T iPhones are already "4G". And all that's required is updating to iOS 5.1
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

But I thought AT&T iPhones are already "4G". And all that's required is updating to iOS 5.1

I'm still sad about that.

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post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Yes, the MDM9615 should support Voice over LTE, though Verizon and AT&T won't be turning it on their networks until next year.

In theory, however the standard for VoLTE is still yet to be finalized.
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post #7 of 45
Isn't it a little late in the cycle to be reviewing potential hardware components. I would have thought they would be testing prototypes by now.

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post #8 of 45
Considering how many people are whining about the iPad3 sucking up 4G bandwidth caps, best we just keep the iPhone on 3G right?

Oh wait, then those same whiners will complain that the iPhone is stuck on 3G.

Ugh... I give up. </s>
post #9 of 45
Seems like it's too late to choose components for a product release in just 5 months. They supposed to have assembled prototypes in testing already. Most likely they are talking about iPhone 2013.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Considering how many people are whining about the iPad3 sucking up 4G bandwidth caps, best we just keep the iPhone on 3G right?

Oh wait, then those same whiners will complain that the iPhone is stuck on 3G.

Ugh... I give up. </s>

Makes me wonder about all the other LTE phones out there. Are they getting slammed with overages?

I don't use my iPhone very much away from WIFI anyway. But when I do it's sloooow!!!

I'd gladly use an LTE iPhone.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple now reviewing potential components for next-gen LTE iPhone.

No shit?

And here I was thinking that the iPhone 4S would be the last one!

(It must be a slow news day).
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post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Isn't it a little late in the cycle to be reviewing potential hardware components. I would have thought they would be testing prototypes by now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

Seems like it's too late to choose components for a product release in just 5 months. They supposed to have assembled prototypes in testing already. Most likely they are talking about iPhone 2013.

That's my understanding. I will be surprised if Apple doesn't choose MDM9615.

The bigger unknown is what they will choose for the Apple A6.

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post #13 of 45
I'll bet the next five iPhones are in the lab. Although, the one five years out is likely still on a whiteboard where a couple of Apple theoretical physicists and chemists are ironing out whether or not Apple's goals will be in agreement with the laws of physics and chemistry.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

Seems like it's too late to choose components for a product release in just 5 months. They supposed to have assembled prototypes in testing already. Most likely they are talking about iPhone 2013.

No...Apple for sure is already testing the Iphone 5. My guess is that they have a lot of them made already. What I think the article is pertaining to is volume amounts for when they go into production. Because this is going to be the 'mother of all releases', my take is they will be in full production by July of this year for a Sept release.

I can't even image how big this product release is going to be. Everyone I know is really ready for a 4.2 (?) screen, A6 cpu, 4G, and 4.0 bluetooth just to name a few of the features. And a new design......I'm READY.
post #15 of 45
Cool. I'm due for an upgrade by then.
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoss View Post

I'll bet the next five iPhones are in the lab. Although, the one five years out is likely still on a whiteboard where a couple of Apple theoretical physicists and chemists are ironing out whether or not Apple's goals will be in agreement with the laws of physics and chemistry.

I wouldn't say 5, but this upcoming and one maybe two more sounds more reasonable. Maybe the other two are still on a sketchpad somewhere.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Isn't it a little late in the cycle to be reviewing potential hardware components. I would have thought they would be testing prototypes by now.

Yea I thought the same thing. But if this is the case then I think a fall release is definitely set in stone. Even a possible later release date as well.

post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I wouldn't say 5, but this upcoming and one maybe two more sounds more reasonable. Maybe the other two are still on a sketchpad somewhere.

I'd say 5 years only in the sense that there are ideas Apple developing today that won't be ready for 5 years.

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post #19 of 45
Is it possible to make a "world" LTE phone? The new iPad is not "world" LTE, although it is "world" 3G. Is there a single chip solution available for a "world" LTE?
post #20 of 45
Note the PA (Packet Access, i.e. 3G/4G data and voice) bands shown in the diagram:

Band 2 is 1900 Mhz PCS used in the U.S. by AT&T
Band 5 is 850 Mhz used in the U.S. by AT&T

Band 1 is 2100 Mhz IMT used in Europe & elsewhere
Band 8 is 900 Mhz GSM used in Europe & elsewhere

Band 4 is 1700 Mhz AWS used in the U.S. by T-Mobile

Band 13 is 700 Mhz used in the U.S. by Verizon for LTE
Band 17 is 700 Mhz used in the U.S. by AT&T for LTE

Yes, if this diagram is accurate (though it's likely mostly speculative at this time), band 4 means this iPhone could support 3G on T-Mobile in the U.S.

Admittedly AT&T also has some 1700 Mhz spectrum, which they are planning on using for LTE, but it's not deployed, yet.

Unfortunately non-U.S. LTE bands, like the 2.6 GHz IMT-E band 7 planned for LTE in Europe (already in use for data in Stockholm and Oslo) are left out.

At least this diagram shows both AT&T and Verizon LTE bands together. If it's accurate, then, there would only need to be a single iPhone model for LTE on both carriers, like the iPhone 4S does 3G on both carriers, and unlike the iPad 2 and new iPad, which require separate models for each.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

Is it possible to make a "world" LTE phone? The new iPad is not "world" LTE, although it is "world" 3G. Is there a single chip solution available for a "world" LTE?

It's possible it just depends on many LTE bands that can be supported. For instance, the iPhone 4S and iPad are not full 3G world mode devices because they don't support every 3G band (or even every 3G mobile tech). Examples would be T-Mobile USA's AWS band and China Mobile's TD-SCDMA tech.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lun_Esex View Post

Yes, if this diagram is accurate (though it's likely mostly speculative at this time), band 4 means this iPhone could support 3G on T-Mobile in the U.S.

The basebands in Apple's phones have been "capable" of supporting AWS for at least a couple years now, the problem is that there has been a limitation to the number of bands you can support at one time and whether you want to add the auxiliary components for the RF transceivers.

For example, Apple has been using a WiFi/BT/FM radio chip for years but never enabled the FM radio. They allow introduced the iPhone 4 as a penta-band phone to the FCC but never activated the 5th band, which I think was only used by Japan's largest MNO.

So while I hope T-Mobile USA comes aboard for the sake of completeness I am not holding my breath. Personally I'd much prefer that China Mobile to come aboard first if it's an issue of one or the other.

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post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

Is it possible to make a "world" LTE phone? The new iPad is not "world" LTE, although it is "world" 3G. Is there a single chip solution available for a "world" LTE?

It's very complicated. Extra circuitry would need to be added to support additional bands (see my post above). It's theoretically possible, but the value in adding that additional circuitry doesn't yet exist because LTE deployment is so sparse, so far. Verizon and AT&T are the largest deployments of LTE in the world to date, so it's worthwhile to support those. Plus the only real competition in phones (and tablets) with LTE is in the U.S. right now.

Apple's very pragmatic. They don't tend to add hardware that would add cost until and unless it will actually be useful to a significant or meaningful segment of their market(s). Once LTE networks are rolled out more broadly they'll add support for additional LTE bands in subsequent iPhones and iPads.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

But I thought AT&T iPhones are already "4G". And all that's required is updating to iOS 5.1

Nothing personal to you, but I really wish people would get off this hobby horse about what's "real" 4G and what's not.

The fact is that if one goes by the actual, original specification by the committee, there is *nothing* that is "real" 4G that will arrive for at least a few years. Not anywhere on the planet.

The choice is simply calling the technology currently emerging with the 4G speeds "4G," or waiting for 3 years before the very first "real" 4G implementation emerges. Most people would say that the main differentiating feature of 4G is the fact that it's way faster which the stuff emerging today is. If we want to wait for all the technical details to line up and the speeds to reach their theoretical maximums, then we'll all be waiting a long long time.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The basebands in Apple's phones have been "capable" of supporting AWS for at least a couple years now, the problem is that there has been a limitation to the number of bands you can support at one time and whether you want to add the auxiliary components for the RF transceivers.

The diagram in this article *is* showing the additional components that would be needed to support T-Mobile's AWS band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They allow introduced the iPhone 4 as a penta-band phone to the FCC but never activated the 5th band, which I think was only used by Japan's largest MNO.

Both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S do UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA at 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz and GSM/EDGE at 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz.

That's five bands: 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100.

There is no "inactive" 5th band on either phone. It's just that they only support four bands for any one telecom standard.

The new iPad now supports 6 bands: 700 (E-UTRAN band 13 or 17, depending on model), 850, 900, 1800, 1900, and 2100.

The diagram in this article shows support components for 7 PA bands. The GSM/EDGE components would include the 1800 Mhz band, so it's actually 8 bands total (!). No doubt the antenna design and tuning will be highly complex.
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Nothing personal to you, but I really wish people would get off this hobby horse about what's "real" 4G and what's not.

The fact is that if one goes by the actual, original specification by the committee, there is *nothing* that is "real" 4G that will arrive for at least a few years. Not anywhere on the planet.

I actually wish they just use "5G" for current LTE and "6G" for LTE Advanced. Then people could shut up about what's really "4G" or not. ("I want the one that's got more 'G's!!")

It's all just marketing, rather than technical terminology, anyway. They might as well use the names of colors, or emotions, or shapes.

...or big cat names, like Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Lion, etc.
post #26 of 45
Some possible improvements that we might see in the next iPhone:
- LTE
- 1GB of RAM (up from the current 512MB)
- 10 megapixel camera
- Gorilla Glass 2 (would allow for either more battery capacity or a slightly thinner phone)
- faster CPU/GPU (more responsive)
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post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

10 megapixel camera

Oh, for crying out loud. People need to get off the megapixel kick.

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post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lun_Esex View Post

The diagram in this article *is* showing the additional components that would be needed to support T-Mobile's AWS band.


Both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S do UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA at 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz and GSM/EDGE at 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz.

That's five bands: 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100.

There is no "inactive" 5th band on either phone. It's just that they only support four bands for any one telecom standard.

The new iPad now supports 6 bands: 700 (E-UTRAN band 13 or 17, depending on model), 850, 900, 1800, 1900, and 2100.

The diagram in this article shows support components for 7 PA bands. The GSM/EDGE components would include the 1800 Mhz band, so it's actually 8 bands total (!). No doubt the antenna design and tuning will be highly complex.

1) Read the diagram again. All required component are not on one chip.

2) As shown, being technically possible doesn't mean technically advantageous. There are almost often tradeoffs. Gobi is great but it can't be everything to everyone... yet.

3) As noted, Apple had the 5th band tested but it was never active. Inactive does not mean non-existent.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

Some possible improvements that we might see in the next iPhone:
- LTE
- 1GB of RAM (up from the current 512MB)
- 10 megapixel camera
- Gorilla Glass 2 (would allow for either more battery capacity or a slightly thinner phone)
- faster CPU/GPU (more responsive)

I think LTE, specifically the MDM9615, is very likely. What is unsure is whether Apple can finally put more LTE bands on one device. If Apple could have put Verizon and AT&T's LTE bands on one device they could halved the number of cellular iPads this year. That is a cost savings on many levels so it would seem to me there were technical reasons preventing it.

Is 1GB RAM really a propriety for Apple since the resolution won't be changing?

So long as it's a better camera in other regards that's fine but over all I'd rather see improvements outside of pixel count.

I think GG2 is very likely. It seems to have no downsides for Apple's needs.

I'm sure about a faster CPU/GPU (clockspeed) but I would expect we'll see the A6 drop in size and increase in performance while using less power.

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post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper View Post

I can't even image how big this product release is going to be. Everyone I know is really ready for a 4.2 (?) screen, A6 cpu, 4G, and 4.0 bluetooth just to name a few of the features. And a new design......I'm READY.

I'm afraid everyone you know is going to be disappointed when the screen and form factor remain relatively unchanged.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Isn't it a little late in the cycle to be reviewing potential hardware components. I would have thought they would be testing prototypes by now.

You'll know when they start testing prototypes when people start finding them in bars.
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post #31 of 45
I'm not sure where I heard it, but I am of the opinion that the late Qualcomm LTE chips would be far more energy efficient than those of a year ago. Would that be the MDM9615" LTE chip mentioned above?
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post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

I'm not sure where I heard it, but I am of the opinion that the late Qualcomm LTE chips would be far more energy efficient than those of a year ago. Would that be the MDM9615" LTE chip mentioned above?

Yes it would.
Note: iPhone 5 refers to what we call the iPhone 4S, as in 5th gen iPhone, not to what people are calling the 6th iPhone.

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post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, for crying out loud. People need to get off the megapixel kick.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/...one-camera.ars

Main benefits:
-Noise reduction
-Loosless zoom
-Better color reproduction

Too bad this tech will be soon available on WP but not on iPhone.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Yes, the MDM9615 should support Voice over LTE, though Verizon and AT&T won't be turning it on their networks until next year.

But why? Will my voice travel faster? Better?

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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, for crying out loud. People need to get off the megapixel kick.

And get on the Gigahertz kick?
Or how about the multicore kick?
As long as it doesn't get warm, or else Consumer Reports will get non-recommendy on your ass!

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post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lun_Esex View Post

Band 4 is 1700 Mhz AWS used in the U.S. by T-Mobile

Band 4 is used by AT&T, Telus and Bell for LTE.

Apple curiously calls it 2100 instead of AWS in the iPad specs.

Very disappointed there's no band III (LTE 1800) for Australia, Europe and Asia.
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Isn't it a little late in the cycle to be reviewing potential hardware components. I would have thought they would be testing prototypes by now.

These are power amplifiers and filters, there are many vendors that can provide these to Apple's specs.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

For example, Apple has been using a WiFi/BT/FM radio chip for years but never enabled the FM radio. They allow introduced the iPhone 4 as a penta-band phone to the FCC but never activated the 5th band, which I think was only used by Japan's largest MNO.

The fifth band you refer (Band 6) to is completely inside another band (Band 5 - 850MHz).
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is reportedly moving along with development of its next-generation iPhone, and is now reviewing parts submitted by suppliers for potential use...

post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, for crying out loud. People need to get off the megapixel kick.

I'm not getting off the kick until the camera at the back of the iPad is 9.7 MP, to match the screen size!
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