Apple iPhone 5S/5C Predictions

So we’re a little less than a month away from the September 10th unveiling of the new iPhones.

iPhone 5S:

  • A7 processor – still 32nm Samsung fabbed. An incremental upgrade over the A6 processor. Likely just improving the SWIFT core, accomplishing all the things they wanted to do with the first generation SWIFT (A6) but didn’t get time to. For the CPU, I expect a little IPC performance improvement, but stays dual core and increases the max clocks. For the GPU, I expect a non-trivial performance increase with a switch to the “Series6” Rouge GPU from PowerVR, probably in the neighborhood of 50%, with a much smaller increase in the die area.
  • Third-gen Qualcomm (MSM9625) baseband and WTR1625L radio front-end. This supports LTE-Advanced (carrier aggregation) and UE Cat4 speeds (150Mbps, which you’ll start to see as Verizon and T-Mobile roll out 20MHz FDD networks).
  • IGZO screen to save energy to make up for carrier aggregation (running two radios at once).
  • Support for 802.11ac (single stream up to 80MHz channels, similar to other smart phones).
  • Same storage and price points as the current iPhone 5. Apple’s margins are shrinking enough on the iPhone as-is, so they don’t want to let users pay $200 for a 32GB phone when they could pay $300. Small chance of seeing a 128GB iPhone (again, to boost margins).

BOM: ~$180

iPhone 5C (the C is for COLORS!)

  • Either an A6 CPU downclocked (parts that couldn’t make QA for the iPhone 5) from the iPhone 5 version, or a modified A6 CPU that is missing some features.
  • Second-gen Qualcomm LTE 9615 paired with WTR1605L radio. This will enable TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE for China Mobile.
  • Rest of parts similar to the iPhone 5, except for that the case is much much cheaper to make (cost savings of around $15/phone alone).

BOM: $135

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