At least some of you may recall that back on August 27, EDN and sibling site EE Times both published my predictions as to what today's product launch event might bring to Apple's iPhone product line. How'd I do with my guesses? Pretty well, I must say, although I can't take all of the credit.
With each iteration of the iPhone generation count, we seem to know more (and sooner) in advance of the actual announcement, thanks to inevitable leaks. To some degree, this is due to the products' overseas manufacturing base, and the ever-larger number of people involved in the manufacturing process by virtue of the ever-increasing production volumes. And to some degree, the increased leaks are due to the ever-increasing product feature set complexity, which involves an increasing number of building block suppliers. It's essentially impossible to keep everyone muzzled and otherwise under control, even for a “reality distortion field”-capable company like Apple.
Bogus rumors are inevitable from sketchy websites seeking page views, but amid the chaff are kernels of wheat (or, if you prefer, within all the smoke is at least some fire) that the smart folks at EDN and elsewhere can identify and pass along.
To wit, what did I get right? First off, with kudos to John Gruber, the screen sizes and at least one resolution set. The smaller (but still larger than today's iPhone 5s) iPhone 6 has a 4.7″ diagonal IPS LCD (I guessed the display technology right, too) with 1134×750 pixel (326 pixel-per-inch) resolution. And the larger iPhone 6 (now known as the iPhone 6 Plus) has a 5.5″ diagonal display. However, whereas Gruber thought that the iPhone 6 Plus would tout a 2208×1242 pixel (461 ppi) screen, it ended up “only” being 1920×1080 pixels (401 ppi). As I write these words, it's not yet known whether or not either or both of the product variants' displays will be protected by sapphire crystal, versus more conventional Corning Gorilla or other glass technologies.
Both iPhone 6 products also migrate to the 20 nm-fabricated A8 SoC, as I'd forecasted. It doubles the transistor count from the A7 precursor, to 2 billion. I suspect that Apple has not leveraged the expanded transistor budget to further double the on-chip CPU core count from two to four, and supposedly real benchmark testing results support this conjecture (as well as identifying a 1.4 GHz peak clock rate, and 1 GByte of system RAM). Instead, the company has probably used them to beef up the graphics core (particularly important for the high pixel count 1080p widescreen resolution of the iPhone 6 Plus), the ISP (image signal processor), and other on-chip logic resources, as well as the sizes and varieties of on-chip cache and other memory arrays. Apple claims that the A8's CPU is up to 25% more powerful than that in the A7, with the A8's GPU up to 50% faster.
Two weeks ago, I wrote, “One advantage to a larger phone surface area is that the total battery volume inside the phone can be 'spread' throughout it, thereby decreasing the required battery thickness (all other factors being equal).” Indeed this has seemingly occurred. Both iPhone 6 flavors' thicknesses — the base iPhone 6 at 6.9 mm and the Plus at 7.1 mm — are less than the 7.6 mm iPhone 5S. However, Apple claims that they'll both deliver equivalent if not better battery life than their predecessor.
For the rest of the story, see EBN sister site EDN .