While Apple’s obsession with secrecy is well known, there has been an interesting trend since the introduction of iPad in 2010.
Due to the annual product cycle of iOS devices, a new iPad in March, followed by the new iPhone in fall (since last year), the new iPad has given us some interesting clues about what to expect in the next iPhone (and also the other way round).
Though Apple can always pull a fast one on us this year, we take a look at what the new iPad (3rd generation iPad) tells us about the next generation iPhone (sixth generation iPhone).
The first thought that might have crossed your mind on reading the title is, of course, the naming convention that Apple broke with the release of the new iPad. It shed the numeric suffix attached with the name of the iPad, and the iPhone is expected to follow the trend.
That was a fairly easy one, considering that the MacBook and the iMac never had numbers attached with their names.
What more can we guess about the next iPhone from the new iPad?
4G LTE iPhone:
For starters, Apple finally shipped a 4G LTE device, without making a lot of compromises on the device size or battery life.
When asked about making an LTE compatible iPhone, Tim Cook, back in April last year, said:
“The first generation of LTE chip-sets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.“
The new iPad seems to be using Qualcomm’s MDM9600 chipset, which supports LTE and is also backwards compatible with HSPA and EV-DO. The iPad’s large size and relatively less market penetration (as compared to the iPhone) makes the device an ideal candidate to conduct an LTE test run. When Apple does bring LTE to the iPhone, it is expected that the company would use Qualcomm’s smaller and improved 28nm chipsets.
The newer chipset mentioned above, would consume lesser power than the one that is included in the iPad. This point is even more interesting when we take into account the massive increase in battery capacity in the iPad (25 watt-hour to 42.5 watt hour). The iPad’s size hasn’t increased in proportion to the increase in battery capacity, which probably means that Apple has figured out a way to pack more battery power per unit volume.
So, not only would the battery life of the next iPhone be impacted to a lesser extent thanks to Qualcomm’s new chip, but the battery itself would be more powerful. This paints a pretty good picture for the next iPhone’s battery life, in contrast to what’s happening right now.
All LTE phones introduced till now have been fairly large in size, presumably to accommodate the large battery and an LTE chip. Tim Cook, most probably, meant this when he spoke about “design compromises.” Again, these problems would be solved by newer LTE chipsets, which tells us that Apple won’t (forcibly) increase the size of the iPhone by a lot.
Faster A5X Chip:
All of Apple’s custom designed Silicon in the “AX” series have first shown up on the iPad, and then made its way to the iPhone. If this trend is any suggestion, the next iPhone should most certainly be powered by the A5X chip, which was, again, debuted on the new iPad released this week. The A5X, with a quad core GPU, would bring increased graphics performance to the iPhone. And as noted by Michael Morgan, a mobile device analyst, this chip would most likely be powered down to 800MHz, just like the iPhone 4S, to save battery life.