iPhone 5 Rumored To Pack Serious Performance Upgrade

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News Posted: Mon, Jan 17 2011 8:23 PM
We've heard plenty from tablet and smartphone manufacturers at CES about their upcoming 2011 products. Apple has remained nearly silent about its own plans, but Taiwanese sources have surreptitiously reported that the next-generation iPhone 5 will pose a threat to the best-laid plans of everyone else.

According to the Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily, the iPhone 5 will incorporate several new technologies. Apple is expected to ditch the penta-band UMTS antenna currently within the iPhone 4 for a Qualcomm dual-mode chip that supports both CDMA and GSM technologies. This would remove the need to manufacture separate phones for Verizon and AT&T and theoretically allow the company to negotiate a better purchase price.

Other changes include the rumored development of a new processor dubbed either the A5 or the A8. Regardless of the chip's code name, it's supposedly a dual-core Cortex-A9. Since the current A4 inside the iPad/iPhone 4 is a Cortex-A8, just moving to the more powerful architecture would be a step up. If Apple jumps from a single-core A8 to a dual-core A9 at the same 1GHz clock rate, performance will significantly improve as well. Presumably the next-generation chip will be trimmed to conserve power in much the same way as the A4 was.

The SGX543 GPU. From what we're hearing, it's going to be impressive.

The other major upgrade is billed as a dual-core GPU based on the recently announced SGX543. The iPhone 4/iPad both rely on a single SGX535 processor. The diminutive GPU offers a fill rate of 500MPixels/s, and can draw up to 28M polygons/s @200MHz. The new SGX543 is significantly more powerful core-for-core (33.25M polys/s at 200MHz and a fill rate of 1GPixel/s). Whereas the SGX535 is designed as a single-core implementation, however, the SGX543 is explicitly designed to stack in configurations of 1-16 GPUs. (Think of this as SLI-on-a-stick). An iPhone 5 with a dual-core SGX543 GPU would therefore theoretically be able to draw more than 2.4x as many polygons and would offer 4x the fillrate when compared to its predecessor.

Such hardware would substantially widen the sorts of activities the iPad/iPhone could capably handle. 1080P would be absolutely no problem, and Apple could theoretically bring the iPad's display resolution up to near iPhone 4 levels without straining the GPU or slowing the device's refresh rate. We aren't holding out for streaming HD video over anything but WiFi, even if the next-generation flavors are theoretically up to the challenge. At the rate so-called 'unlimited' plans are collapsing or being capped by 3-5GB limitations, only those of us who manage to hold on to grandfathered plans will be in a position to take advantage of such features.

We don't think the likes of Blackberry's Playbook or upcoming Tegra 2 tablets are automatically in trouble, but Apple seems to have planned for this fight in advance. The iPhone and iPad still command more mindshare than any specific device from any single manufacturer, which makes this battle Apple's to lose.
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CHolt replied on Tue, Jan 18 2011 10:11 AM

We are on the way to playing Crysis on mobile devices, maybe, in a long time.

I would like to see these upgrades also on the iPod Touch 5, though

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Actually not with a pure touch based interface we're not CHolt. Pure touch is only good for certain types of games, which have to be build specificly for it. Phones with keyboards, direction pads, and optical joysticks are much better for games.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 18 2011 10:55 AM

This is my one argument against the tablet, now mind you this is not against the e-reader. How do I separate the two, you are probably asking! Well that would be in capabilities, platform strength etc. Where many see the tablet/slate getting stronger, and taking over Netbook space, and maybe even Notebook market space, I question that.

Why have a slate like device if your smart phone does all it can do, is a complete end to end mobile communications, contact, scheduling, GPS, Gaming, face to face and on and on device. The only real reason I can think of is entertainment or literature.

The issue I think is a very defining one in that say a laptop can ,and will greater so have strength and performance, a Slate basically as I said is entertainment, and the smart phone is the catch all device in the picture. While a mobile communications device is pretty much a necessity, and in many cases something like a capable (IE: Sandy Bridge/AMD ATU device with performance and energy management in a smaller package) UL type device, that outclasses a netbook/Slate in most cases. Not to mention a UL notebook takes up slightly if any more space than a Slate over 7", and will operate with anything for a full day, where a slate may operate slightly longer, but will not work with anything mainly past entertainment/literature.

Plus the fact that we have dual core coming on Apple devices, all over Motorola devices in a Tegra2 flavor, as well as in other devices like that Blackberry  we saw in CES coverage.

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Joel H replied on Tue, Jan 18 2011 3:01 PM


I think tablets fill a niche between notebooks and smartphones. (I think we'll continue to call low-end laptops 'netbooks' because the term works well; I don't know if they'll actually denote more than longer battery life / smaller systems in the future.

Here's the difference as I see it. A tablet provides a larger screen than a smartphone, doesn't need to carry a data plan / monthly fee, is easier to read, and will typically be *faster* than a given smartphone (or offer more storage space / USB ports, etc) thanks to the larger form factor and greater ability to dissipate heat. I see tablets becoming very useful in education, in medical professions, and when monitoring inventory in a warehouse or department store. Generally, I'd say tablets will be most useful *outside* of the entertainment market when there's a need for the user to simultaneously move and read data or make limited adjustments to the same. No one is going to want to write a book with their thumbs, but jotting down a few notes or marking inventory levels is no problem. Similarly, it's inherently easier to ruggedize a single-sheet device than it is to do the same to a laptop--no matter what precautions one takes, joints will always be a weak point for any device.

Tablets will also appeal to the elderly--maybe not so much the baby boomers, but definitely to the generations beyond them. Worsening eyesight will leave some old folks unable to effectively read a smartphone no matter how clear the text; a tablet is much easier to use if you have failing eyes and shaky fingers. Since old people are the fastest growing population of the industrialized world without exception, this is going to be a huge market.

If I have documents to read or presentations to view while flying, I'd much rather have a tablet. If I'm letting the kids watch something on the road (assuming I had any), I might rather have a tablet. The other reasons you list are all good examples of why laptops aren't going to go away, but tablets are going to be far too useful *not* to be huge. How long it takes this to happen will most likely depend on software development, not hardware capability--but it'll happen.

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realneil replied on Tue, Jan 18 2011 3:49 PM

Joel H:
I see tablets becoming very useful in education, in medical professions, and when monitoring inventory in a warehouse or department store.

My son (the doctor) uses an iPad on his hospital rounds and patient appointments too. He was using an iPhone, but can get better apps for what he does on the iPad. he has a holder that he can store it in when he isn't using it. He can check for drug interactions, his patient's allergies, Their religion, (important) and other pertinent information. He says that he can store an incredible amount of data on the iPad while working during the day and it helps him do his job safer and better.

My other son the Chaplain has an iPhone and wants the iPad.

My eldest daughter has both of them and loves them both.

If I had a genuine use for one, I'd get it, but I really don't.

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They need to go with a 4 inch or bigger screen in the 5. 3.5 inches dont cut it anymore for screen sizes. If they dont I will jump ship to the Samsung Infuse with its 4.5 inch super amoled screen, 1080p video and 64gb storage space.

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Inspector replied on Tue, Jan 18 2011 5:01 PM

realneil: "Their religion, (important)" that is a big one, don't want to offend anyone or do something stupid... greeting someone the wrong way can be offensive -.-.

But hey if this one is good i might stick with apple for another 2 year, else i will switch (also depending on when it comes out). But the capping and all really sucks, i don't think i can keep up with a capped data, the bill would just be... :)

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I agree with everything Joel Said and what Reilneil described ,is an excellent example of the IPads use.


If I had a genuine use for one, I'd get it, but I really don't.

Same here, I cant see myself doing any computer related work (Web Surfiing, Video, Gaming Ect) on anything less than a 20 inch screen.


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coolice replied on Wed, Jan 19 2011 2:49 AM

I miss the days when a phone was a phone, and a computer was a dust filled box that worked. haha

This comes from someone whose in his 20's hahah. But very cool nonetheless! In about 10 - 15 years (provided we're not living in a post apocalyptic world killing zombie's and fighting of herds and herds of Ti100's powered by googles cloud computers, which are safely placed on islands outside land, thus making them harder to reach!!!) I'll be telling my kids that my computer, from highschool to uni was a dual core CPU that ran at 2.8 ghz, had 3 gb's of ram, and used numerous hard drives which accumulated to ~ 1TB, i used XP, Vista and Win7.

They'll be horrified that we lived in a world where a laptop was 13.3 inches across, and 2tb's of data was the size of a novel, then they'll freak out when i'd tell them my books were printed on paper.

ANYYYWHO, I wonder what imaginative way Apply will use to describe (rebrand) dual core technologies as if they were the masters behind it and this groundbreaking technology.

Just a poor students 2 cents.

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 19 2011 10:55 AM

I miss the days when a phone was a phone, and a computer was a dust filled box that worked. This comes from someone whose in his 20's hahah.

I completely agree with you, and I'm 57 years old. My phone is still just a phone, albeit a portable one,...and my computers are still full of dust.

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