by Scott Johnson
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 12:47 PM MDT
When Apple first released the iPhone in 2007, they introduced a technological renaissance. The iPhone ushered in the “smartphone era” bringing phone technology to an entirely new level. Since the iPhone release, the iPhone has seen some technological advancement along the way, but not to the degree of changing the industry.
The next iPhone is not only expected to introduce LTE capability to the line, but it may also be a true world phone, connecting to nearly every network technology. There could potentially be a single iPhone model that could be activated on nearly any carrier with the swap of a SIM card. Many carriers will undoubtedly impose a SIM lock, to keep the phone on their carrier, but it has the potential.
Many technologies, one tiny chip
At the heart of this advancement is the Qualcomm MDM9615 from Qualcomm’s GOBI line. This multiple device modem (MDM) chip supports both voice and data over LTE (FDD and TDD)as well as connecting to EV-DO Rev A and B, HSPA+, dual carrier HSPA+, and TD-SCDMA. With the added support of voice over LTE this phone could also be one of the first to support VoLTE.
All this in the tiny iPhone form factor
The MDM9615 will pair with Qualcomm’s WTR1605 and PM8018 integrated circuits to combine multiple mode and multiple band connectivity, low power consumption, and small footprint. The WTR1605 is Qualcomm’s first wafer level radio transceiver and will allow LTE FDD, LTE TDD, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and GSM connections. The PM8018 will provide efficient power management at the wafer level. The only sticking point for Apple is how to fit all the antennas, PA's and filters for all the different bands into the iPhone without significantly increasing the size. This may keep them from being able to introduce a “world” phone and have to settle for regional or carrier specific models with the components to support the bands the carriers use.
But will it retain Apple’s iconic battery life?[float right][/float]
First generation LTE chips are energy hogs, which may be why Apple opted to skip the addition of LTE to their iPhone 4S. The 28nm MDM9615 may be just what Apple was waiting for in order to retain their small form factor and still give outstanding battery life. Not only will the 28nm chip have a reduction in size, but when paired with Qualcomm’s Power Optimized Envelope Tracking (Q-POET) the chip will see further enhanced power efficiency and heat management.
What we know
As of this point, Apple is only reviewing potential components for their next iPhone, but the fact that they are reviewing these specific components leads many to believe that they will utilize the components to their maximum potential. Apple generally is leak proof, which means that we will have to wait until an official announcement until we have confirmation of what will be included in the newest installation of their iPhone line. The combination of these chips may not even see the Apple device first. An Android OEM may be already working on this and introduce a phone with the wide capabilities possible with this chipset.
Baseband RF Photo courtesy of Barklay's Research