iPhone 6 Roundup Update

Our iPhone 6 roundup has been updated with the latest information, including several details about the 4.7-inch model divined from a completed logic board, and an official September 9 unveiling date.

Check our our full roundup for details.


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4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Logic Board Equipped With Qualcomm’s MDM9625 LTE Modem

Amid all of the leaks today based on photos and videos from luxury modified iPhone vendor Feld & Volk [Instagram page], one additional point worth mentioning is the device's LTE modem. While photos posted to reveal the existence of an NFC chip from NXP has seen identifying marks on many of the other components blurred, a portion of the text printed on the LTE modem is visible, confirming the board does indeed contain Qualcomm's MDM9625M as had been previously rumored.

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MDM9625M boxed in red

The MDM9625 is a Category 4 LTE modem, supporting speeds of up to 150 Mbps, compared to the MDM9615 Category 3 modem at up to 100 Mbps, which is found in the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. Some observers had been holding out hope that Apple might use Qualcomm's even faster MDM9635 Category 6 modem as is reportedly lined up for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Alpha handset, but with Apple's history of conservatism in choosing its cellular technology and questions about production ramp-up for the MDM9635 make it unsurprising that Apple has opted for the MDM9625.

iphone_6_board_wtr
Likely WTR1625L boxed in red and WFR1620 boxed in blue

Part of the speed benefits of the MDM9625 and new LTE-Advanced technology compared to earlier generations of modems comes from the use of carrier aggregation to combine channels for greater bandwidth. With the MDM9625, this carrier aggregation requires a pair of companion chips, a WTR1625L transceiver chip and a WFR1620 chip. These chips appear to be located on the opposite of the iPhone 6 logic board from the LTE modem itself.

On the whole, the use of the MDM9625 in the iPhone 6 sets the stage for faster cellular data connectivity as networks are built out to support its capabilities, and Apple will likely tout some of these improvements during its media event scheduled for September 9.

(Thanks, chrmjenkins!)


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Support for 3x image assets found in latest iOS 8 beta ahead of larger display iPhone 6

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Developer James Thompson has found an interesting behavior in the latest iOS 8 beta, giving even more weight to the reports that indicate the iPhone 6 will feature a new resolution, featuring a new ‘pixel-tripling’ scaling factor of 3. In May, 9to5Mac first broke news of Apple testing a new screen resolution for an upcoming iPhone, which used a 3x screen scale for content.

The behavior is inconsistent, as iOS 8 beta 5 does not always load these 3x assets. However, it reliably chooses the 3x image on 2x devices using the ‘initWithContentsOfFile’ method. After seeing Thompson’s discovery, 9to5Mac has independently confirmed that this is indeed the case.

2014-08-29 at 19.48

The code used to replicate the behavior.

 

Using a set of test images with @1x, @2x and @3x prefixes, the code will always load the 3x asset, even though — per documentation — it should select the image for the current device’s screen scale. For clarity, each test image is numbered for which scale it represents. Thus, the number 3 in the iOS Simulator shows that iOS has selected the image suitable for a 3x screen scale.

To get an idea of the relative sharpness of 1x, 2x and 3x sizes, see the image above for a reasonable approximation. The difference is rather striking. The 1x image is extremely pixellated, the 2x has imperfections with curves but the 3x asset is perfectly smooth.

Moreover, the code path does not accept any arbitrary scale. Testing with other sizes, such as 4x or even 8x, does nothing. The routine specifically chooses 3x image assets. This suggests this behavior is not simply a bug, but is representative of upcoming iPhone features. The implementation of the API specifically looks for @3x assets only. This likely foreshadows what Apple is readying for its new iPhones.

Therefore, this is strong evidence that the next iPhone (or at least, an imminent iOS device) will use a screen with a 3x scale. Unfortunately, this does not help pinpoint a specific resolution, aside from reaffirm that the new iPhones will have significantly more pixels than found in the iPhone 5s. 9to5Mac has reported on Apple testing both 568×320 and 414×736 logical screen resolutions. At 3x, the actual screen resolution of the device would be 1704×960 or 1242×2208. For comparison, the screen resolution of an iPhone 5s is 1136×640.

Apple will announce its new iPhones at its press event on September 9th.


Filed under: Developers, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: 3x, Apps, iOS, iPhone 6

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