Next-Gen iPhone & iPhone Nano Speculation

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices and SoCs' started by Arun, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Just thought I'd start a thread since we're likely to be fast entering silly season, and I thought I'd come up with my own speculation for silliness's sake:

    iPhone 5 Pro
    3.7" 960x640 LCD (Edge-to-Edge horizontally to keep the same dimensions?)
    A5 (similar clocks but thermally limited when using both cores or GPU)
    Qualcomm MDM6660 14.4Mbps & 5 HSPA Bands + EV-DO CDMA
    NFC via Broadcom? Or no NFC? (cannot be NXP/Inside Secure)
    Audience eS310 voice processor (replacing Audience A1026)
    1GB 64-bit LPDDR2 DRAM
    Sony 8MP rear camera
    720p front camera
    32-64GB NAND

    iPhone 5 Nano (assuming Apple doesn't keep selling the iPhone 4 which seems rather likely)
    3.5" 960x640 LCD Edge-to-Edge (smaller home button) OR 3.2" 480x320 LCD (more realistic cost-wise really) - either way lower quality than iPhone 4 (ala iPod Touch 4G: worse contrast etc.)
    A4 (remember it's actually smaller than the 3GS SoC)
    ex-Infineon XMM 6160 7.2Mbps (same as iPhone 4)
    ex-Infineon UE2 RF & 5 HSPA bands (replaces UE)
    512MB or 256MB LPDDR1 (A4 can't use LPDDR2)
    720p <2MP rear camera (see: iPod Touch)
    VGA Front Camera
    Cheaper materials
    Smaller battery

    Unsubsidised Pricing: $249-329 for 8-32GB
    Subsidised Pricing: $0 for 32GB (slightly cheaper contract than iPhone 4)

    I know it's not generally accepted that Apple would release an iPhone Nano-like product this year (and the name iPhone 5 Pro is rather unlikely but that's besides the point), however notice the components are exactly what you'd expect from a cost-optimised iPod Touch 5G except for the presence of a 3G baseband (the camera might be controversial but it saves on cost and would help make it very thin). If Apple wanted to be especially secretive, they can simply pretend they're negociating for iPod Touch components, not iPhone ones. And a next-gen iPod Touch is suspiciously absent from the iOS 5.0 device list... And I didn't say this was likely, just doing my part making silly season, well, silly ;)

    EDITs: Various small changes (typos, clarity, extra points)
     
  2. Ailuros

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    Just because we're about to enter silly season I don't see why you have to be part of it, but I am fetching a box of popcorn and am stretching my legs.... :lol:
     
  3. Lazy8s

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    I don't see a real need to change the resolution from 960x640.

    If they were making an alternative version based upon screen size, I could see it being >4 inches.

    I don't see them dropping the quality of the backside camera on any iPhone model.

    The A5 SoC is big because they wanted to implement it that way. I assume they controlled the size to still be suitable for the next generation iPhone(s) and iPod touch(s).
     
  4. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Argh, obviously neither do I. That's a typo/brainfart probably because I thought of a 3.2" inch 480x320 resolution screeb for the iPhone Nano but decided it didn't make sense.

    But then their DPI bar for Retina Displays becomes a problem. And Steve Jobs has indicated he wasn't a fan of bigger devices.

    720p sensor ala iPod Touch and iPad 2 is indeed fairly extreme, but Apple evidently seems to think it's "good enough" for some purposes, so who knows. Otherwise a lower quality 5MP 1.4um sensor without auto focus would make sense.

    It doesn't make sense for Apple to use the same SoC in all future devices IMO. The A5 is certainly suitable for iPhones in general, but not for one at $249 unsubsidised.
     
  5. rpg.314

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    Skimmed over the hypo-specs but seems like iphone5 nano is just iphone4.
     
  6. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    I updated my original post to be a bit more detailed. But it's pretty close, yeah. Still, you've got much cheaper RF (UE2), much cheaper rear camera (controversially so I'll admit), a cheaper/smaller battery, and probably much cheaper materials. And obviously they can allow themselves slightly lower margins here.

    If you want to reduce costs further, two things you can do are using a 3.2" 480x320 screen instead of 3.5" 960x480 one, and sticking to 256MB RAM (ala iPod Touch 4G) instead of 512MB RAM. Just look at the iPod Touch 4G with 8GB NAND selling for $229 to get an idea of what's possible. The 3G subsystem (in that kind of volume) and associated patent royalties (proportional to device price which is much lower here) won't cost more than $30-35, so at 40% gross margins that's only $50-60 extra. Consider incremental cost reductions for everything else and a $20 higher price, and you're in the right ballpark.

    I suppose if they wanted incremental volume without hurting their ASPs too much, they could just sell a 8GB iPhone 4 for $0 subsidised (similarly to how they sell the 3GS for $49 today). Realistically, that's by far the most likely possibility.
     
  7. ltcommander.data

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    I think keeping the iPhone 4 around as the low-end model makes more sense than trying to replace it with a iPhone 5 Nano. Even with the push back of the iPhone 5 launch from June to September, it seemed strange to go ahead with the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 and even more so the much delayed white iPhone 4 so late in the iPhone 4's product cycle. Or at least if product cycle is considered solely on when the iPhone 4 is Apple's top model. If the iPhone 4 remains another year as the low end model after the launch of the iPhone 5, then delayed launches of the Verizon and white iPhone 4 don't seem as late.

    In any case, I hope that Apple moves the low-end model up from 8GB to 16GB. With the expanding capabilities of the SoC and major games like those by Gameloft already getting close to 1GB in size once installed, 8GB of storage space is too limiting. Especially if you are wanting to leave room for 5MP photos and 720p video. And Apple certainly doesn't want to discourage people from buying apps because of the lack of storage space. Of course going 16GB on the low-end model, pushes the iPhone 5 to 32GB and 64GB sizes and likely the 5th gen iPod Touch up to 128GB, and I'm not sure if that squeezes the margins enough that Apple won't want to do it.

    Ars Technica reported that OmniVisions new 8MP camera actually has decidedly worse light sensitivity than the current OmniVision 5MP camera in the iPhone 4. So going 8MP will be mainly for marketing points rather than performance and may not be something Apple wants given that they stressed the importance of making sure each pixel gets enough light in the iPhone 4. Perhaps they will stick with the 5MP camera in the iPhone 5, but promote 1080p video recording with the rear camera and 720p FaceTime HD with the front camera over WiFi or VGA FaceTime over 3G from the front camera. The 5th Gen iPod Touch will then similarly get a bump to a 1080p fixed focus rear camera and a 720p front camera.
     
  8. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Agreed and very good point, that makes a lot of sense. I would say all the evidence points in that direction with two small exceptions:
    1) This AppleInsider leak: "Source: Apple drastically reduces orders for iPhone 4 camera flash"
    2) The existence of two next-gen iPhones in iOS 5 despite the next-gen iPhone definitely being a world phone according to all reliable sources. Doesn't mean much though.

    Agreed, but Apple isn't (entirely) responsible for worldwide NAND pricing. But things seem to be moving in the right direction to make that possible: http://www.dramexchange.com/WeeklyResearch/Post/2/2714.html

    At the start of mass production, $7/4GB for the iPhone 4, $6/4GB for the iPod Touch 4G, $5/4GB for the iPad 2, and despite a small spike in Q2 it looks like we're on track for $4/4GB for the next-gen iPhone. Contract prices are decided well in advance but OEMs can allow themselves slightly lower or higher margins at product launch as long as they're confident it'll even out over the product's lifetime.

    Frankly, I'm expecting there won't be an iPod Touch 5G for some time. I expect they'll simply stick to the current A4-based one for another year and reduce the price and/or increase capacity instead. The iPod Touch is inherently a lower cost option to the iPhone, and the current generation is already perfectly cost optimised in every way.

    Yeah, the OV5650 is an absolute beast. It's ridiculously better than practically every other 5MP sensor out there, and the OV8830 can't match it. And it wouldn't even be ready in time anyway, while the OV8820 is even worse. It might not be as bad as the raw sensitivity specs imply (e.g. lower noise?) but no miracles here.

    My expectation is that Omnivision has simply lost the 8MP contract to Sony. Digitimes claims that Omnivision will supply 90% of next-gen iPhone sensors and Sony only 10%, but they have a very spotty track record on Apple rumours, and I heavily suspect they have been used by analysts/insiders/whatever to manipulate certain stocks for financial gain in the past. There's nothing fundamentally impossible delivering a similarly good 8MP sensor, but it's impossible for it to come from Omnivision in that timeframe.

    ---

    I think at this point the most likely and realistic line-up would be:
    iPhone 4S 64GB: $299
    iPhone 4S 32GB: $199
    iPhone 4 16GB: $49 (possibly with minor internal hardware revisions?)

    ---

    EDIT: BTW, there's a small chance that Apple switched Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS from the BCM4329 plus Broadcom or Qualcomm GPS to a ST-Ericsson CG2900 Bluetooth/GPS chip and an Atheros AR6003 Wi-Fi chip. It's far from certain, but I've heard some noteworthy hints in the direction of the CG2900 but without the ST-E Wi-Fi solution, which would hint heavily at Atheros to go with it. Or I could have misunderstood and that was for another very high visibility phone (not the Galaxy S2, that's using a BCM4239 with a CSR SiRFStar IV for GPS).

    Keep in mind I've got a pretty good track record on the connectivity side for the iPhone since I correctly said the iPhone 3G would use a CSR BlueCore6 with the same Marvell Wi-Fi chip and the iPod Touch 3 would use a BCM4329 iirc (although I was surprised by the BCM4325 in the iPod Touch 2G tbh). Also keep in mind my track record for everything else is pretty awful :lol:
     
  9. Lazy8s

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    The average person, in many cases, has already been relating the "4" in iPhone 4 to the "4G" qualifier a lot of other brands have been using in their product names, so I wonder how Apple will steer away from that confusion in the subtitle of their next iPhone.
     
  10. wco81

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    There are people who believe that Apple could sell the iPhone 4 design for about $350 unsubsidized and still make a healthy profit.

    The $649 and $749 unsubsidized prices represent, according to this view, the carriers pushing up the prices to tie people to contracts.

    The other thing is, Apple could use their supply-chain advantages to price their flagship phone SKUs at parity with the top Android phone, rather than command a premium, just as Android tablet makers seem to be struggling to achieve price-parity with iPad 2.
     
  11. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    It is claimed that Apple gets $300-400 subsidies from operators, and I've heard that $300 for ultra-high-end smartphones is very plausible. $400 might be pushing it, but it's not impossible for some operators (especially AT&T pre-Verizon iPhone).

    So that gets us from $199 subsidised to $499-599 unsubsidised. There's definitely still a gap there, but it gets us nowhere near $349. If Apple actually sold it for $499 at 50% gross margins, selling it at $349 would require them lowering their gross margins to 28.5%. Not strictly impossible, but not very Apple-like and they'd need 2.5x as much volume to justify it ($100 vs $250 gross profit) which seems too optimistic. I suspect they wouldn't really want to do an iPhone Nano-like product without 40% gross margins.

    There is a little bit of truth to that, but much of the cost benefit from the iPad simply comes from higher volumes and securing great deals for the most expensive components like LCDs. An ultra-high-end smartphone from Motorola or HTC can easily sell quite a few millions of units (versus only hundreds of thousands for a tablet today) and the volume discounts are sublinear, so Apple's advantage isn't as significant here.
     
  12. tangey

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    Before the "reveal" about the direction and operation of the cloud, I would have said that the next logical inclusion for advices would be usb3.

    However apple is very clearly moving away from syncing and wired downloading of content, so although it's natural that usb3 will likely appear at some stage, it no longer is a key feature advantage that it once would have been. Mind you, you can cloud all you like but it's still way quickly to get 10G of music/video to you idevice by USB than any other way
     
  13. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Agreed, doesn't seem so likely now, even more so with Apple's focus on Thunderbolt. In the very long term, it would be interesting if they implemented WiGig 60GHz, but that's several years down the road.

    But they've already done one key thing for improving wireless streaming: despite using the same BCM4329 chipset as the iPhone 4, the iPad 2 finally supports 5GHz Wi-Fi which today has significantly less interference from other users in the real world. BTW, it's noteworthy that the primary cost advantage of integrated Power Amplifiers in these Wi-Fi chips is actually 5GHz - for volume reasons mostly (but likely not exclusively), 2.4GHz PAs are very cheap and 5GHz PAs quite expensive. Broadcom claims 70 cents of savings from integrated PAs iirc, but that's mostly on the 5GHz side, and when you include silicon costs of including both it's probably closer to 10 cents for 2.4GHz-only devices. Sorry, I'm rambling :)

    In the short-term, as I noted in my first post, I wouldn't be surprised if they switched from Broadcom to an Atheros AR6003 here. That gives you 150Mbps over 5GHz - either via a 5GHz router or Wi-Fi Direct. And in the medium-term (late 2012?) I can imagine them going for something like the AR6004 with MIMO on the iPad and later the iPhone.

    Then in the long-term... One thing that's probably going to blow some people's minds is that 802.11ac *will* certainly happen on tablets and probably smartphones eventually. That means moving from 300Mbps (via 40MHz 64QAM 2x2 MIMO on 5GHz) to 867Mbps (via 80MHz 256QAM 2x2 MIMO on 5GHz). Most likely you'll actually stick to 433Mbps with a single stream on the upload side (ala LTE which is mostly why you get 100/50Mbps rather than 100/100) to reduce power consumption on phones, but even there you'll get the full 867Mbps on the download side which is perfect for iCloud among other things.
     
  14. wco81

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    Latest rumors are about a "radical" new case design, to be unveiled in August.

    Previous rumors were about a "modest" upgrade over iPhone 4 with just the internals (A4 to A5) changing -- of course in this forum, the internals are the main thing of interest.

    iPhone and iPad's broad appeal have been more than about specs. If Apple does offer a lower-priced SKU -- and some people suggest the only way Apple is going to keep up with low-cost Android phones is to offer a SKU with an unsubsidized price under $400, maybe $300 -- it seems they would differentiate by industrial design as well as internals. The cheaper iPhone must also have the potential to upsell -- that is, not only cannibalize sales of the higher-priced SKU but entice some buyers to pony up more for the prettier, better-spec'd model.
     
  15. phenix

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  16. ltcommander.data

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    http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20110624PB201.html

    Do those revenue shares make sense? Ie. if TSMC gains all of Apple's iPad 3 orders it's only 2% of their revenues whereas non-iPad tablets might be 4% of their revenue in 2012. The iPad's share of the market is expected to decline overtime, but by 2012 are non-iPad tablets already going to have double the sales of the iPad?

    And I really wonder if Apple is going to go Cortex A15 and 6th Gen PowerVR for the Apple A6. Up to now, Apple has kept everything for 2 generations. ARM11/PowerVR MBX Lite and Cortex A8/PowerVR SGX535, just with process shrinks or clock speed bumps for the 2nd year refresh. It makes you wonder if they'll just go with a tweaked, high clock speed Cortex A9 and a high clock speed SGX543, perhaps a bump to MP4 to support a Retina iPad 3. Would a ~1.5GHz dual core Cortex A9 with SGX543MP4 really put them behind the top devices of 2012?
     
  17. phenix

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    There has been some suggestions that Apple will switch and unify their announcement times for new iPad/iPhone/iPods. I am assuming that their next generation will be announced towards Q4 of 2012. There will be many A15 based Socs in 2012 from others. I am just suggesting that they should also adapt this CPUs to remain competitive with other manufacturers. PowerVR6 is also a wish rather then a prediction. As far as I know only one manufacturer announced products based on this GPU (ST-Ericcson), obviously Apple never announced any plans whether they will adapt it or not.
     
  18. rpg.314

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    It'd make psp2 blush for sure.
     
  19. Lazy8s

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    2012 Q4 announcement, as in the announcement for A7? They'll definitely be prepping for Series 6 and Cortex-A15 by then.

    Unless they're pushing back all 2012 iOS device launches by several months, which, with iPhone 5's delay may very well be the case, A6 could be too early for Rogue + A15.

    ST-Ericsson's (600+ MHz Rogue x 2) + (2.5 GHz A15 x2) will be hard to match next year. Any semi trying to push too hard on the CPU side, thereby taking away from the GPU's potential, will be at a competitive disadvantage.
     
  20. phenix

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    Keep in mind that Apples announcements and hard launches are usually very close to each other. Whatever they show around holidays 2012 they will start to sell it in a month, A6 or juiced up A5.
     
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