iPhone6s – ‘Dreams & Facts’ – 3 months ahead

Well, it is nearly weekend, so time to relax and chat a bit about the coming future of the next iPhone ūüôā ; but not only that, we are just 3 months in advance of the presentation of the next iPhone6s series; which I would say will be next coming 18th September 2015.

Currently I have read many rumors and predictions about the possible new coming features of this new iPhone; but based in my own experience I want make also my own bet; explaining my reasoning behind also.

These are the most possible (and not possible) upgrades that we will see in the Apple Autumn event:

  1. A9 CPU based on FinFET 14nm: (95%) I am mostly sure of this upgrade taking into account the close collaboration between Apple and Samsung Semi foundry.
  2. 2GB of RAM: (75%) This prediction could be quite disapointing for some fan’s, but although when Apple presented the iPad Air 2 this year with that upgrade I was pretty convinced (99%) that it should be the path for all the iDevices from 2015; today I am not fully sure. As it is possible that Apple wants to keep the bump to 2GB only for the tablets and PRO devices; as the iPad Air 2 and a rumored iPad 13″ Pro. Let’s see if I am wrong (and happy about my mistake ūüėČ ) and we get powerful iPhones with 2GB of RAM; or, if we even need to wait for iPhone 7 for it.
  3. LPDDR4 RAM:¬†(90%) This is also a pretty sure movement, doesn’t matter if with 1GB, 1.5GB or 2GB increase, as this newer RAM technology is also faster and more power efficient, and already well tested in the field with al the Samsung S6 smartphones deployed wordwide.
  4. Battery Longer Life: (95%) If the above features happen, this will happen also, but not because the battery will be bigger in capacity, but due lower power consumption of the chipsets used.
  5. 12-megapixel iSight Camera: (95%) After three years with the same camera resolution (8MP since iPhone 4s) I think that Apple has squeezed up to the maximum this sensor; and while Apple internally develops the just acquired LinX Imaging technology for their future products (something which I believe it will not happen at least to iPhone7s (2017) or very luckily on iPhone7) this increase of resolution would give another step ahead while Apple prepares its way for their own embedded cameras with SLR quality images.
  6. 2-megapixel FaceTime Camera: (99%) After two years living with a limited 1.2Mpix camera, and the high demand from the users, this will be also the year where we could finally could make Full-HD selfies; and possible even front panorama captures.
  7. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): (85%) This would be also a possible added feature on the iPhone6s, but only if it still fits inside the slimmer housing of it, compared with the 0.2mm thicker iPhone6Plus which already has it.
  8. Touch ID 3rd Gen: (100%) This will be for sure, nothing noticeable externally speaking, but yes in its daily use, as already happen with the second generation of last year.
  9. Housing with Alu-7000: (85%) I think that Apple will not change their last years strategy and the housing will remain in the same shape form (which means keeping the disapointing protruding back camera at least up to next year); but if the yield rate is good and their partners can offer the requested quantities, it is possible that Apple will move to the newer Aluminum 7000 series alloy which is used in their Apple Watch 2015 and giving so good reviews. Besides, it is also quite feasible that the same color tones (darker Space Grey) introduced in the Macbook 2015 would be added to it.
  10. FLASH size storage: Well, this is also a tricky feature. I am sure that the maximum capacity will remain in 128GB; but still big ‘Q’ is if Apple will decide to change to 32/64/128GB offer, or if they will stick on the 16/64/128GB. If I would have to bet, I would say 75% possibilities for the change: 32/64/128GB; but this is more marketing strategy and profits than something else.
  11. Sapphire front glass: (0-5%) I keep these last two features because I really doubt about them at this point in time. For this one, I don’t even think that Apple’s is still considering for this year this change, as this would be a Major change, adding also a big cost impact, and I also doubt that they have put in place enough production capabilities on top of the glass for the luxurious Apple Watch models.
  12. Force Touch: (5%) For this item I also really doubt about it. Simply because it would have a big impact in the housing design (in terms of bigger? size/shape changes); and this is totally outside of the 2-years housing design process of Apple. Alright, it could be cool to have it right now, but I don’t think so. In fact, I believe¬†this will be the major feature for next year iPhone7; once Apple has¬†completely internalized all the lessons learned (from Watch and Macbooks usage); and also they have time to prepare a upgraded iOS10 user interface taking it into account to really bring added value to the whole system. It is possible that we will see it sooner (maybe in the next iPad 13″ Pro rumored for 2nd Nov 2015?); but not in an iPhone but at least 23rd Sept. 2016.

And these are all my predictions/wishes three months ahead of the real release of next iPhone6s ūüėČ

Why next iPhone6s could come with 2GB RAM

Since the iPhone5s launch, many users have been waiting a boost in the inner iPhone 1GB RAM, so when iPhone6 series where launch with still 1GB LPDDR3 RAM there was a big letdown in most of them, even more for the iPhone 6 Plus users.

Anyhow, Apple doesn’t boost their devices specifications due market trending, but following a well progressive thought plan behind.

Then, taking into account the next facts, which I will describe, I really think that next iPhone6s series could come finally this year with that 2GB RAM boosting long time waited.

  1. A9 CPU based on FinFET 14nm: This new ASIC process technology would allow Apple chip designers to make a smaller die and more power efficient CPU; reducing the overall battery power consumption.
  2. LPDDR4 RAM: This newer RAM technology is also faster and more power efficient, so together with the new A9 based on 14nm would allow Apple to keep the average usage hours even if the RAM is doubled (and therefore its consumption). Remember that Apple always keeps (or increase) the average usage battery lifetime in every new iPhone.
  3. LPDDR4 newer RAM technology will be already tested in millions of smartphones during several months (remember that Samsung Galaxy S6 series use it) ensuring its quality and reliability in the field. In addition, this will ensure that the LPDDR4 vendor memory factories are at full capacity without any fault that may have.
  4. iDevices roadmap: Taking into account that Apple already introduced the 2GB size RAM on last 2014 iPad Air2, bringing this bigger RAM memory footprint to the other iOS devices would setup a common development field to the thirty apps developers. In this case, Apple was able to do it because the A8X has not the RAM embedded inside the same SoC package, but in chip-on-board mounting (look picture below of iPAD Air 2 mainboard PCB).
  5. Doubling the RAM memory size would allow to keep more process running in RAM, allowing Apple to add more services running in background, as all those which will come with the Apple Watch (think also in next iOS9 and iOS10).

iPAD_Air2_A8X_CPU

Then, taking into account my above five¬†argumentation points, and that even then Apple would need to be able to integrate the double RAM size die in the same PoP package size as today (if they don’t want to lose PCB space and therefore, internal space for other IC’s or battery). Because remember that Apple integrates in the same package the CPU + RAM silicon dies using Package-on-Package technology to save space and improve performance:

iPhone6_A8_CPU

I think that this year could be finally the year where 2GB RAM memory size could arrive to the iPhone 6s series, or at least to iPhone 6s Plus if Apple would decide to keep it as a Key feature differentiator between the next iPhone 6s and iPhone 6S Plus.

Samsung closes the loop in high-end smartphones production chain

Until this year, all the high-end Samsung smartphones came with an in-house CPU design (Exynos) or Qualcomm performance equivalent; depending of market and sales volumes.

Q810_Exynos7

But on top of moving to Glass + Metal materials, it seems Samsung game rules changed also this year for CPU, and the newest Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will come only with Exynos 7 CPU flavor inside.

Mr. Shin Jong-kyun (Samsung CEO) argued:

Samsung previously used more Qualcomm mobile processors; But we are flexible. If Qualcomm chips are good enough, then we will use them. Samsung always uses the best-quality components and materials to differentiate our products from those by rivals.

But I don’t think that current Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 is¬†not good or powerful enough. My view is that Samsung wants to have a closer control in the supply chain and full Bill Of Materials costs, reducing overall production costs and improving margin benefits avoiding paying any kind of IP to Qualcomm (which are not negligible).

If Exynos performs well and Samsung doesn’t suffer production bottlenecks, I doubt that they will come back to Qualcomm and probably they will begin to introduce their Exynos in medium range, increasing the visibility of Samsung Semic. R&D division.

Basically they are following the steps made by Apple: to have a closer control up to the last dollar cent of the BOM to achieve bigger benefits.

This was done some decades ago until most companies began to outsource progressively everything, focusing only in branding; but I think the tech business trend is changing again, having in-house control even up to lower ASIC design level.