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New Qualcomm LTE chipset could bring truly global iPhone with support for China Mobile

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Apple supplier Qualcomm on Thursday announced a new "global LTE" front end solution that operates on 40 bands, including all existing LTE networks, which could usher in a truly global iPhone that even supports the obscure TD-SCDMA network used by the world's largest carrier China Mobile.

Teardown Logic Board 2
The iPhone 5 uses Qualcomm's MDM9615M LTE modem (blue) and RTR8600 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver (purple).
Source: iFixit


According to Qualcomm the RF360 Front End Solution offers the first comprehensive system to address LTE fragmentation, allowing handset makers like Apple to roll out a single smartphone that supports all 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and LTE Advanced. Currently, the iPhone comes in three variants due to limitations with existing wireless chipsets, including two GSM models and one CDMA version.

The RF360 chipset is "designed to mitigate this problem while improving RF performance," and offers support for all seven cellular modes, including LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE. If deployed in a next-generation iPhone, Apple could launch a single "universal" handset instead of the company's current three-model lineup.

Of particular interest is the chipset's TD-SCDMA operation, as the standard is used by the world's largest cellular provider by subscribership China Mobile. While Apple has yet to ink a deal with the telecom, many analysts believe a partnership will be a major boon for the continued growth of Apple's iOS platform.




Despite not being an official Apple partner carrier, China Mobile reportedly has some 15 million iPhone users on its slower 2G network, suggesting demand for the handset would be high.

A recent study of the Chinese market showed that Apple may be able to triple its addressable market in the region if it launched a low-cost iPhone that supported China Mobile's network. Currently, the iPhone 5 accounts for some ten percent of the country's mobile market with China Telecom and China Unicom being the only two providers to carry the handset.

In addition to the wide range of supported bands, the RF360 chipset includes a dynamic antenna matching tuner, envelope power tracker, integrated power amplifier/antenna switch and the RF POP 3D RF packing solution. Qualcomm is anticipating a second-half 2013 launch for products using the chipset, around the same time as Apple's usual iPhone refresh cycle.
post #2 of 41
1) It's about time. With dozens of LTE operating bands the situation was worse than having just CDMA and GSM on a handful of bands each.

2) I can't wait to find out how this works and if it's less power efficient since it's no longer a dedicated chip to band implementation.

3) RF360. I see what you did there Qualcomm. Nicely done.

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post #3 of 41

So would this New Chip mean: 

 

1. SIM Cards on Verizon, the same way as ATT's GSM, so that one could just buy such SIM Card when traveling outside the USA, and not have to pay International Roaming? 

 

2. Will there finally be Simultaneous Voice and Data on Verizon iPhones? 

 

My instinct is that the Answer to both Qs will be NO! The excuse given by Verizon and other CDMA carriers will be - we want to preserve Backward Compatibility, so that if a Customer is in the are where there is no Latest LTE, we need to offer them Backward Compatibility to 3G or even Older 2G, which would be still on CDMA! 

 

It would great to be pleasantly surprised, and see that whole CDMA GSM and other Sub-Flavors to go away, and have a Truly One Phone for One World, but… the Carriers around the world want to control their markets, and, no matter how powerful Apple will be, the Carriers will fight back, and will include some kind of restrictions! 

 

We can only guess why China Mobile, The Biggest Carrier there, still didn't make a Deal with Apple! It's logical to conclude that there are some Restrictions, Limitations being negotiated...

 

The Speeds and Pricing Plans with all their Data Caps in the USA will be another battle ground!

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post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by macologist View Post

So would this New Chip mean: 

1. SIM Cards on Verizon, the same way as ATT's GSM, so that one could just buy such SIM Card when traveling outside the USA, and not have to pay International Roaming? 

2. Will there finally be Simultaneous Voice and Data on Verizon iPhones? 

My instinct is that the Answer to both Qs will be NO! The excuse given by Verizon and other CDMA carriers will be - we want to preserve Backward Compatibility, so that if a Customer is in the are where there is no Latest LTE, we need to offer them Backward Compatibility to 3G or even Older 2G, which would be still on CDMA! 

It would great to be pleasantly surprised, and see that whole CDMA GSM and other Sub-Flavors to go away, and have a Truly One Phone for One World, but… the Carriers around the world want to control their markets, and, no matter how powerful Apple will be, the Carriers will fight back, and will include some kind of restrictions! 

We can only guess why China Mobile, The Biggest Carrier there, still didn't make a Deal with Apple! It's logical to conclude that there are some Restrictions, Limitations being negotiated...

The Speeds and Pricing Plans with all their Data Caps in the USA will be another battle ground!

1) The iPhone 5 has a SIM card slot on all models. On the Verizon iPhone 5 it's unlock so you can use GSM/UMTS/LTE on other carriers, but the LTE is currently limited due to the operating bands.

2) SV&D will require a third antenna which is why some LTE phones on Verizon have it but the iPhone 5 does not. I think there is a good chance we'll see it this year (or maybe I just really miss it from switching from AT&T last year).

3) GSM and CDMA will still be around for a long time. They are part of the chipsets and use very little power compared to newer standards. Think of 802.11b still part of WiFi. Think of how long carrier kept AMPS around.

4) I think China Mobiles has a much better hand than Apple and I think Apple will do special things to secure that market. Perhaps that is, in part, investing in Qualcomm to create the RF360 posthaste or creating a cheaper handset since subsidized devices aren't common.

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post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

4) I think China Mobiles has a much better hand than Apple and I think Apple will do special things to secure that market. Perhaps that is, in part, investing in Qualcomm to create the RF360 posthaste or creating a cheaper handset since subsidized devices aren't common.

Apple could also come up with a new "must have" device such that China Mobile starts losing subscribers by not having it. There's more than one way to skin a Chat.

post #6 of 41

I thought the issue with supporting many cell phone bands is broader than just baseband chipset support. Different bands also need different support components including power amplifiers and antennae which add cost, space, power, and complexity making a true world phone for 2G through 4G very difficult.

post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

1) ...that even supports the obscure TD-SCDMA network...
2) ...used by the world's largest carrier China Mobile.
 

These statements do not fit together very well...

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post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

I thought the issue with supporting many cell phone bands is broader than just baseband chipset support. Different bands also need different support components including power amplifiers and antennae which add cost, space, power, and complexity making a true world phone for 2G through 4G very difficult.

That's the point of this chipset. One chipset, one set of support components. No problem. 

 

On the physical side however, is the antenna. I'll let the experts discuss whether this is an issue. 

post #9 of 41
CORRECTION: the iPhone 5 currently comes in FOUR models, not three.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3939?viewlocale=de_at&locale=de_at

iPhone 5 GSM for US, Canada and Puerto Rico
iPhone 5 CDMA for Verizon and Spint
iPhone 5 GSM for Asia and other international use
iPhone 5 CDMA for China
Edited by jinjo235 - 2/22/13 at 5:12am
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

2) SV&D will require a third antenna which is why some LTE phones on Verizon have it but the iPhone 5 does not. I think there is a good chance we'll see it this year (or maybe I just really miss it from switching from AT&T last year).
 

 

For the record actually all LTE phones on Verizon support SV&D with LTE except the iPhone 5. It would need a second cellular antenna (one for CDMA and one for LTE) not 3. 3 (2 CDMA, one GSM) would allow it to do V&D over 3G, which only a handful of other Verizon LTE phones can handle. Obviously this is just how Apple chose to handle its integrated antenna design. With VoLTE launching on Verizon later this year, you're right in that it will probably go away in the next version. 

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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

I thought the issue with supporting many cell phone bands is broader than just baseband chipset support. Different bands also need different support components including power amplifiers and antennae which add cost, space, power, and complexity making a true world phone for 2G through 4G very difficult.

Qualcomm announced a considerable amount of innovation actually. The original press release does, in fact, address your concerns:

Dynamic Antenna Matching Tuner (QFE15xx) – The world’s first modem-assisted and configurable antenna-matching technology extends antenna range to operate over 2G/3G/4G LTE frequency bands, from 700-2700 MHz. This, in conjunction with modem control and sensor input, dynamically improves the antenna’s performance and connection reliability in the presence of physical signal impediments, like the user’s hand.

Envelope Power Tracker (QFE11xx) – The industry’s first modem-assisted envelope tracking technology designed for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, this chip is designed to reduce overall thermal footprint and RF power consumption by up to 30 percent, depending on the mode of operation. By reducing power and heat dissipation, it enables OEMs to design thinner smartphones with longer battery life.

Integrated Power Amplifier / Antenna Switch (QFE23xx) – The industry’s first chip featuring an integrated CMOS power amplifier (PA) and antenna switch with multiband support across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular modes. This innovative solution provides unprecedented functionality in a single component, with smaller PCB area, simplified routing and one of the smallest PA/antenna switch footprints in the industry.

RF POP™ (QFE27xx) – The industry’s first 3D RF packaging solution, integrates the QFE23xx multimode, multiband power amplifier and antenna switch, with all the associated SAW filters and duplexers in a single package. Designed to be easily interchangeable, the QFE27xx allows OEMs to change the substrate configuration to support global and/or region-specific frequency band combinations. The QFE27xx RF POP enables a highly integrated multiband, multimode, single-package RF front end solution that is truly global.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by macologist View Post

So would this New Chip mean: 

1. SIM Cards on Verizon, the same way as ATT's GSM, so that one could just buy such SIM Card when traveling outside the USA, and not have to pay International Roaming? 

2. Will there finally be Simultaneous Voice and Data on Verizon iPhones? 

My instinct is that the Answer to both Qs will be NO! The excuse given by Verizon and other CDMA carriers will be - we want to preserve Backward Compatibility, so that if a Customer is in the are where there is no Latest LTE, we need to offer them Backward Compatibility to 3G or even Older 2G, which would be still on CDMA! 

It would great to be pleasantly surprised, and see that whole CDMA GSM and other Sub-Flavors to go away, and have a Truly One Phone for One World, but… the Carriers around the world want to control their markets, and, no matter how powerful Apple will be, the Carriers will fight back, and will include some kind of restrictions! 

We can only guess why China Mobile, The Biggest Carrier there, still didn't make a Deal with Apple! It's logical to conclude that there are some Restrictions, Limitations being negotiated...

The Speeds and Pricing Plans with all their Data Caps in the USA will be another battle ground!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) The iPhone 5 has a SIM card slot on all models. On the Verizon iPhone 5 it's unlock so you can use GSM/UMTS/LTE on other carriers, but the LTE is currently limited due to the operating bands.

2) SV&D will require a third antenna which is why some LTE phones on Verizon have it but the iPhone 5 does not. I think there is a good chance we'll see it this year (or maybe I just really miss it from switching from AT&T last year).

3) GSM and CDMA will still be around for a long time. They are part of the chipsets and use very little power compared to newer standards. Think of 802.11b still part of WiFi. Think of how long carrier kept AMPS around.

4) I think China Mobiles has a much better hand than Apple and I think Apple will do special things to secure that market. Perhaps that is, in part, investing in Qualcomm to create the RF360 posthaste or creating a cheaper handset since subsidized devices aren't common.


1. You should have more faith in the carriers. The carriers will find a way to put the screws to you.

2. Verizon has announced Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Verizon claimed that they deployed VoLTE trials more than one year ago. Verizon announced a successful VoLTE telephone call on their commercial LTE network over two years ago.

3. I suspect you are correct. If I had to guess, I wouldn't seriously contemplate the end of GSM and CDMA for another decade. I suspect that migrating the entire infrastructure in rural areas will require more than a decade, however.

4. I suspect you are correct. The entire solution seems tailor made for Apple.


* The Verizon VoLTE deployment will be interesting. Verizon has publicly stated that they will not support VoLTE to CDMA handoffs. I hope Verizon has very good coverage when they decide to deploy VoLTE.

** I suspect we will see a much better antenna configuration on the next generation iPhone.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

3. I suspect you are correct. If I had to guess, I wouldn't seriously contemplate the end of GSM and CDMA for another decade. I suspect that migrating the entire infrastructure in rural areas will require more than a decade, however.

 

Sunset dates for CDMA have already been announced. In this country, for Verizon, it's 2021. This information is available publicly.

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post #14 of 41

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
1) ...that even supports the obscure TD-SCDMA network...
2) ...used by the world's largest carrier China Mobile.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

These statements do not fit together very well...

 

Yeah... I hopped in this thread to say the same thing. As annoying and impractical as it may be that the Chinese keep forking everything rather than using what the international community uses, anything deployed for use by over ONE BILLION HUMANS by definition does not qualify as "obscure". Unless, of course, the writer has a laughably West-/US-centric attitude in a global landscape.

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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by m01ety View Post


Yeah... I hopped in this thread to say the same thing. As annoying and impractical as it may be that the Chinese keep forking everything rather than using what the international community uses, anything deployed for use by over ONE BILLION HUMANS by definition does not qualify as "obscure". Unless, of course, the writer has a laughably West-/US-centric attitude in a global landscape.

China Mobile doesn't have one billion subscribers.
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by m01ety View Post

 

 

Yeah... I hopped in this thread to say the same thing. As annoying and impractical as it may be that the Chinese keep forking everything rather than using what the international community uses, anything deployed for use by over ONE BILLION HUMANS by definition does not qualify as "obscure". Unless, of course, the writer has a laughably West-/US-centric attitude in a global landscape.

 

Not -centric. Pro-.

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post #17 of 41
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post
These statements do not fit together very well...

 

If they're the only ones to use it, then they fit well enough.

 

300,000,000 subscribers on a single tech is a pretty small proportion.

post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

If they're the only ones to use it, then they fit well enough.

300,000,000 subscribers on a single tech is a pretty small proportion.

As a matter of fact, China Mobile currently reports 94,979,000 3G subscribers. We can probably safely assume all those subscribers are using TD-SCDMA though.

AT&T and Verizon both have nearly that many subscribers each (although a large number of their aren't using 3G any more).

Sadly, TD-SCDMA is already a displaced technology. Everyone else is deploying or discussing deployment of 4G technologies, including LTE Advanced in some instances. Little wonder Apple doesn't want to support them.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 2/22/13 at 8:27am
post #19 of 41
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post
As a matter of fact, China Mobile currently reports 94,979,000 3G subscribers. We can probably safely assume all those subscribers are using TD SCMA though.


See, even more accurate. ~100,000,000 is certainly small enough to say obscure.

post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

This chipset might be the biggest proof yet that Apple might expand the iPhone range to include a cheaper and larger version. By that I mean that Apple doesn't like to have a lot of SKU's. Just for the current iPhone alone without this chipset they would have probably needed to add at least another 2 or more models to cover additional bands in other countries. Then when you add in the 16/32/64 that increases it further. But now it might be possible to just differentiate them on nothing more than the storage size and not the chipset meaning 3 instead possibly 21 or more. 

A truly universal chipset would make it a lot more tempting to expand the line to both a cheaper and larger display version as well and still have fewer sku's than you would have before with just the standard iPhone split among 6 or more versions. 

Also great news for any iPhone owners on Sprint since that means that the old Nextel ESMR band and Clearwire's LTE will now be supported which should go live not too long in the future. Currently only the 1900 Sprint PCS band is supported for LTE on the iPhone.  

I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Apple partially funded the design, development or manufacturing of the technology.* I seriously don't see any drawbacks of the technology especially since they are claiming as much as a 30% efficiency improvement.



* This is by no exaggeration of the truth a claim that Apple is responsible for the technology, merely an admission that Apple has a very strong interest in the technology.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 2/22/13 at 9:19am
post #21 of 41
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post
But now it might be possible to just differentiate them on nothing more than the storage size and not the chipset meaning 3 instead possibly 21 or more. 

 

Well, six (color x capacity). That definitely works to their advantage in the future, as it's only six SKUs (or, by dropping white, truly just three) to support per previous model added.

 

Oh, what if they drop the numbers, drop the old models and just run an 8GB version of their newest phone, whatever it is, off-contract unlocked at $299? Ah, that's too low, isn't it. $399 for the newest phone. But then there you go; that's too much again. Just throwing out possibilities. I still like best the "iPhone 4S for $299 off-contract, unlocked" idea. Requires zero extra R&D, zero new manufacturing techniques or equipment, and it could even only be available in those countries that clamor so much for it.

post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

I thought the issue with supporting many cell phone bands is broader than just baseband chipset support. Different bands also need different support components including power amplifiers and antennae which add cost, space, power, and complexity making a true world phone for 2G through 4G very difficult.

 

That is correct about the power amps and filters.  They require room and money.

 

Antennas are not too bad, partly because CDMA/GSM/LTE do often share the same basic bands.  The problem comes with needing more of them for diversity reception and transmissions.   

 

In Apple's case, they also have a metal back to contend with.  No doubt that's one reason why we saw the patent on the microslot antennas in the metal case.

 

As for Simultaneous Voice and Data, the iPhone does not do that while using LTE for data, because of the lack of a spare antenna.   On both CDMA and GSM carriers, the iPhone drops out of LTE while a voice call is going on.   This saves Apple money and internal space, and they figure most people won't notice while we all wait for voice over LTE to arrive.


Edited by KDarling - 2/22/13 at 8:42am
post #23 of 41

Qualcomm's been really aggressive in announcing new chipsets and features over the past couple of weeks. In addition to the highlights that MacBookPro mentioned in post 11, Qualcomm also announced two big additions to their Snapdragon chipset.

 

"Qualcomm, the folks behind the infamous Snapdragon processors, will bring voice activation and speedier charging to mobile devices that use its innards.

Officially, the voice feature is called Snapdragon Voice Activation and is built into suite of Qualcomm’s integrated audio. The technology allows you to wake up a device by saying, “Hey Snapdragon.” The phrase will change depending on which manufacturer takes advantage of the tech...."

 

"Quick Charge 2.0, the new feature is the update to Quick Charge 1.0 and promises to juice up your smartphone or tablet 75 percent faster than normal. Quicker charging is a highly desired feature and Qualcomm plans to deliver, though with a couple caveats. Like Snapdragon Voice Activation, Quick Charge 2.0 only works with Snapdragon 800 processors, which haven’t been used in any mobile devices yet. The HTC One is sporting a 600 series so the 800 devices are probably still six months or so away."

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/qualcomm-unveils-always-on-voice-activation-and-quicker-charging-for-mobile-devices/

 

 

They might actually be a darn good investment for those that play in the stockmarket.  ( I had several shares of their stock back in the 90's that did really well!) With all the recent innovations announced I think it's possible can set themselves up as the dominant source for smartphone processors and baseband chips.

 

At their typical 3.5% of the device total build cost you're looking at potentially huge paydays for them again. Even if they negotiate down to only 3%, how many billions could they get from just Apple alone? 


Edited by Gatorguy - 2/22/13 at 8:48am
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post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, six (color x capacity). That definitely works to their advantage in the future, as it's only six SKUs (or, by dropping white, truly just three) to support per previous model added.

Oh, what if they drop the numbers, drop the old models and just run an 8GB version of their newest phone, whatever it is, off-contract unlocked at $299? Ah, that's too low, isn't it. $399 for the newest phone. But then there you go; that's too much again. Just throwing out possibilities. I still like best the "iPhone 4S for $299 off-contract, unlocked" idea. Requires zero extra R&D, zero new manufacturing techniques or equipment, and it could even only be available in those countries that clamor so much for it.

I just realized that this makes the "iPhone mini" highly improbable.

China Mobile supposedly has 15 million subscribers using 2G service with an iPhone. Apple would likely desire to upgrade those 15 million subscribers to 3G (TD-SCDMA) service and add a, very likely much larger, pool of current (cost conscious) 2G subscribers prior to releasing a drastically less expensive mobile phone. In fact, if China Mobile subscribers reenact the AT&T / iPhone adoption rates the results could be staggering.

Apple would likely expect a few million subscribers to upgrade to the next iPhone. The next iPhone would then drop in price in 2014 which would be the catalyst for even higher adoption rates. As the next iPhone becomes the economy ($.99 iPhone in the United States) iPhone adoption rates would likely soar.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 2/22/13 at 9:06am
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Apple could also come up with a new "must have" device such that China Mobile starts losing subscribers by not having it. There's more than one way to skin a Chat.

That's possible but I think China Mobile has the better position overall which is why I think Apple catering to them with a lower-cost device to help them get more 3G (and eventually 4G) subscribers on board is a likely outcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

It would need a second cellular antenna (one for CDMA and one for LTE) not 3.

I see what you're saying but the end results seems to require a total of 3 antennas to meet Apple's needs for SV&D on their handsets. Here's what AnandTech had to say about it:

"While receive diversity was a great extra for the 4S that drastically improved cellular performance at cell edges, in LTE 2-antenna receive diversity is now thankfully mandatory, leaving the base LTE antenna configuration a two-antenna setup (two Rx, one shared for Tx). […] but the end implementation still requires the same three-antenna solution. […] would require an additional transmit path and antenna, and incur a size and weight penalty."

Quote:
Originally Posted by m01ety View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

These statements do not fit together very well...

Yeah... I hopped in this thread to say the same thing. As annoying and impractical as it may be that the Chinese keep forking everything rather than using what the international community uses, anything deployed for use by over ONE BILLION HUMANS by definition does not qualify as "obscure". Unless, of course, the writer has a laughably West-/US-centric attitude in a global landscape.

Just being used by the world's largest carrier doesn't mean it's a common tech when you consider the world of cellphone use China Mobile's 714 million subscribers that's 10% of the world's subscribers but with most of them still not on '3G' TD-SCDMA or '4G' TD-LTE that percentage drops considerably. Of the world's cellular technologies TD-SCDMA is really just a drop in the bucket. A huge drop, but a drop nonetheless. I don't think anyone but China Mobile uses TD-SCDMA but TD-LTE has been adopted by at least one Japanese MNO. The good thing is these technologies are already part of Qualcomm's Gobi chips with biggest limitations being the operating bands.
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/22/13 at 9:06am

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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

My question is since it was just announced yesterday, when is the soonest we might see it in an actual phone for sale? Is it already too late for the upcoming iPhone later this year? 

From the press release:

"OEM products featuring the complete Qualcomm RF360 Solution are anticipated to be launched in the second half of 2013"

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post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, six (color x capacity). That definitely works to their advantage in the future, as it's only six SKUs (or, by dropping white, truly just three) to support per previous model added.

Oh, what if they drop the numbers, drop the old models and just run an 8GB version of their newest phone, whatever it is, off-contract unlocked at $299? Ah, that's too low, isn't it. $399 for the newest phone. But then there you go; that's too much again. Just throwing out possibilities. I still like best the "iPhone 4S for $299 off-contract, unlocked" idea. Requires zero extra R&D, zero new manufacturing techniques or equipment, and it could even only be available in those countries that clamor so much for it.

The iPhone 4 appears to currently cost $450 unlocked and contract-free.

As stated in my last post, I don't believe there is any reason for Apple to change their strategy.

2013 - 10 million in sales (to China Mobile subscribers)
Next generation iPhone (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (Premium 3G TD-SCDMA model)
iPhone 5 16 GB - $549 unlocked and contract-free
iPhone 4S 8 GB - $450 unlocked and contract-free

2014 - 20 million in sales (to China Mobile subscribers)
iPhone 2014 (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (TD-SCDMA)
Next generation iPhone (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (TD-SCDMA)
iPhone 5 16 GB - $549 unlocked and contract-free

2015 - 40 million in sales (to China Mobile subscribers)
iPhone 2015 (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (TD-SCDMA)
iPhone 2014 (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (TD-SCDMA)
Next generation iPhone (32 GB?) - $649 unlocked and contract-free (TD-SCDMA)


China Mobile has likely considered the bleeding of customers the last couple of years to other carriers that offer 3G support for the iPhone.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 2/22/13 at 9:14am
post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

At (Qualcomm's) typical 3.5% of the device total build cost you're looking at potentially huge paydays for them again. Even if they negotiate down to only 3%, how many billions could they get from just Apple alone? 

 

Interesting sidenote:

 

Royalties are usually per wholesale price, but it's widely reported that Apple made a deal where they pay Qualcomm based on what Apple pays Foxconn per device (~$245), instead.

 

So, Qualcomm sells just their physical chipset to Apple for about $16. 

 

Then, on top of that, Qualcomm charges Apple 3% to 5% ($10 to $15) IP royalty rate for iPhone / iPad models depending on what combination of GPRS/ CDMA / UMTS / LTE they have.

post #29 of 41
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post
The iPhone 4 appears to currently cost $450 unlocked and contract-free.

 

Right, and this year that will be the iPhone 4S. Why not drop that to $299 off-contract and $0 on-contract?


As stated in my last post, I don't believe there is any reason for Apple to change their strategy.

 

Nor I. But it SHUTS UP the people whining about a "cheaper iPhone", so I'm all for that. As long as Apple still makes money on every single unit sold, I don't care what the price for that model is.

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Right, and this year that will be the iPhone 4S. Why not drop that to $299 off-contract and $0 on-contract?

Nor I. But it SHUTS UP the people whining about a "cheaper iPhone", so I'm all for that. As long as Apple still makes money on every single unit sold, I don't care what the price for that model is.

Why not continue to iPhone 4 for $350?
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

The 4 and 4S don't have lightning and Apple wants to move to all lightning ASAP. It also doesn't have LTE which further limits it in the market. It is also perceived to be an old phone now.

That's an interesting point and one worth considering but so far Apple hasn't dropped an older device because of Lightning. They dropped the iPad 3 for the iPad 4 but that flagship to flagship. They kept the 2010 iPod Touch, the 2011 iPad 2, and the 2010 and 2011 iPhone 4 and 4S when they switched to Lightning. I'm thinking they'll not drop the iPhone 4S with an entry-level device that has Lightning but I can how that would a benefit and I'm certainly open to your argument for it.

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post #32 of 41
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Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

Interesting sidenote:

 

Royalties are usually per wholesale price, but it's widely reported that Apple made a deal where they pay Qualcomm based on what Apple pays Foxconn per device (~$245), instead.

 

So, Qualcomm sells just their physical chipset to Apple for about $16. 

 

Then, on top of that, Qualcomm charges Apple 3% to 5% ($10 to $15) IP royalty rate for iPhone / iPad models depending on what combination of GPRS/ CDMA / UMTS / LTE they have.

That's pretty much the way I understood it. Qualcomm is charging based on the BOM rather than the wholesale price.

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post #33 of 41
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post
Why not continue to iPhone 4 for $350?

 

Then that's selling four models at once and forces Apple to gimp iOS 8 because the iPhone 4 "has" to be able to install it.

post #34 of 41
On initial acquaintance here, this seems to be the holy grail of cellular chipsets. Well done Qualcomm...and about time!
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Will Qualcomm be able to deliver in massive quantities since more than likely Apple, Samsung, and every other company will want this chipset. This is after all the holy grail for smart phones in terms of chipsets. Prior to this, handset makers used a variety from different companies so I hope the massive demand that is sure to follow won't cause delays. 

How will this effect the other chipset makers. I don't really know how many players there are in this market. I am sure all the others are working on their own Rosetta stone chipset as well. But if they don't provide a viable alternative Qualcomm might have a monopoly until they have an answer. 

However you spin it, this is fantastic news barring any unforeseen complications or delays. I really hope this makes it into the next iPhone later in the year. 

If the LTE chip they shipped last year in the iPhone 5 and then shortly after with the iPad 4 and iPad mini are indication then I think it's very likely Qualcomm will be able to deliver for Apple.

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post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Right, and this year that will be the iPhone 4S. Why not drop that to $299 off-contract and $0 on-contract?

It's possible but at some point the cost of maintaining a completely separate build that uses older tech can start to become more costly that it just doesn't make sense to continue production. If the next iPhone launches this Summer it'll be 3 years since the iPhone 4 launched and we can then assume it would be a full 4 years before it reaches the end of its line. It's worth considering that a design that directly targeted the lower-end of the market might be a better fit, especially when that targeting might have to include TD-SCDMA for China Mobile which is on available on the iPhone 4.

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post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
It's possible but at some point the cost of maintaining a completely separate build that uses older tech can start to become more costly that it just doesn't make sense to continue production. 

 

But this won't be separate, and it will still have been in production otherwise anyway.1confused.gif

post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

But this won't be separate, and it will still have been in production otherwise anyway.1confused.gif

You lost me. Are you talking about the iPhone 4?

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post #39 of 41
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
You lost me. Are you talking about the iPhone 4?

 

Sorry, 4S! My rebuttal to his iPhone 4 proposal was to state the same but about the 4S.

 

My proposal was that since this year we'll ("probably") see the iPhone 4S, 5, and 5S as Apple's phone lineup in the current prices, why not change the off-contract price of the iPhone 4S to $299 (same price, $0, on-contract) to shut up the people talking about the "cheaper" iPhone. The iPhone 4S could even be sold at (the) $299 (equivalent) only in the countries that Apple deems necessary.

 

Drop the iPhone 4 from production entirely and end its cycle.

post #40 of 41

If Apple uses this chipset it would make the iPhone compatible with pretty much every carrier in the world. It would hopefully spark increased competition between the carriers as even small regional carriers would be on equal compatibility footing with the big players.

 

In Canada the iPhone is supported by the "big three", their subsidiaries and Virgin. Pricing and features are nearly identical across the board and most promotional plans exclude the iPhone.

Mobilicity, Wind and others have much lower prices and unlimited data, but you can't use an iPhone on their networks.

 

We have quite a few Android users in this office. Some are geeks who like the freedom of Android, some (mostly Asian women) like the big screens and some are on Android only because they can't use an iPhone on their preferred carrier.

 

I personally want an iPhone with a larger screen that isn't going to cost me >$2500 over the course of a 3-year contract. 2013 might be the year I finally get what I've been waiting for.

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