What to expect with the new iPhone (“iPhone 5”)

Things we’re sure of

  • 4″ Screen (in-cell)
  • New Design

Things I’m sure of

  • LTE on Qualcomm’s MDM9615+WTR1605L chipset
  • 32nm application processor (A6), fast dual core (1.5GHz)
  • International LTE (on EU-800 and EU/Asia-1800), but no worldwide LTE roaming (international roaming will be restricted due to 3G due to the different models needed to accommodate the various LTE worldwide bands)
  • IGZO screen for better battery life It appears that Sharp wont be delivering any IGZO screens until 2013. The good news is they had live demos showing IGZO screens using 60% of the power of a regular screen (1.86W vs 1.1W for a 7″ display). It appears the first IGZO screen will probably end up in the iPad 4 in Spring 2013 (and the battery will go back to 25-30Wh).
  • T-Mobile support (if not initially, eventually – definitely by end of Q2 2013)
  • China Mobile support (655M customers, again if not initially, eventually, expect before Chinese New Year)
  • 5GHz WIfi support (802.11n)

Expected Battery Specs

  • 12 Hours talk time (3G, since there is no VoLTE networks running yet)
  • 7 hours LTE data
  • 9 hours HSPA/CDMA data
  • 10 hours Wifi data
  • 10 hours video (H.264)

Most of the factors that go into this are that the processors are fabricated on a smaller lithography (28 and 32nm) and the IGZO screen cuts its power consumption by 50%. This is why the battery is only slightly larger instead of a lot larger than the previous generation.

Radio Configurations

US GSM: Lower 700 (Band 12), 850 MHz, 900MHz (for international 3G), 2100 (for international 3G), PCS (1900), AWS (1700/2100), WCS (2.3GHz)

US CDMA: Upper 700 (Band 13), 850 MHz, 900MHz (for international 3G), 2100 (for international 3G), PCS (1900), AWS (1700/2100), BRS/EBS (2.6GHz)

EU/Asia (Japan/Korea): 800MHz (digital dividend), 850 MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, PCS (1900), 2.6GHz

  • The phone as-is wont support Sprint’s eventual LTE iDEN network. This would require a third US model since it would replace Upper 700 (Band 13) with the iDEN band.
  • The radio configurations don’t allow international LTE roaming, just 3G.
  • China Mobile may end up using the EU/Asia model, but probably reconfigured slightly such that it can use TD-SCDMA (may or may not require new hardware, probably not but we’ll see).

5 thoughts on “What to expect with the new iPhone (“iPhone 5”)”

  1. While the iPhone may not support LTE on the iDEN band, I’d say that it is likely that it will nevertheless at least support CDMA over the iDEN (ESMR) band. ALL of Sprint’s latest phones support that band. The technical effort required to support that band shouldn’t be high as it just a small extension to “each end” of the existing cellular band.

    1. The way these new chipsets and RF front ends are designed, if it supports the band, then it’ll work with 3G and 4G LTE. If the band extensions to the cellular band don’t cause interference problems for AT&T and Verizon then I would expect that it’ll be on all the phones and it will support LTE.

      1. Interestingly, the new LG 970E “superphone”, which supposedly uses the same modem as the iPhone 5 will implement LTE on the cellular band (and the PCS band, in addition to the 700 Mhz band and the AWS band). http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/31/lg-e970-eclipse-att-lte-fcc

        As for Sprint, the regular cellular band (band 5), which dates back to the days of AMPS is
        uplink 824-849 Mhz
        downlink 869-894

        in order to cover the SMR band, together with the cellular band, there is band 26 which is:

        uplink 814-849 Mhz
        downlink 859-894

        As you can see, the SMR band simply “extends” the cellular band by 10Mhz.

        1. Yeah, it should be possible to work that in if it extends it a little and the filters can keep noise out from adjacent bands. If Sprint has been able to do it on their phones so far, I’d imagine it shouldn’t be a big deal.

          The LG 970E phone is interesting. It supports lower 700, cellular, PCS, and AWS for LTE; along with 850/1900 for 2G/3G. So its destined to be an AT&T phone (since it didn’t get tested in AWS for WCDMA). If you look at the second page on this PDF you’ll see how the RF front end is laid out (though it doesn’t use this chip, its a good example, just imagine a 7th port) – the chip has two ports for GSM/EDGE frequencies (850/900/1800/1900) worldwide, and then six ports for different bands after that. The diagram shows bands 1, 2, 4, 5 or 8, 7 and 17. This would correspond to 2.1GHz (3G outside the Americas), PCS, AWS, cellular or 900, 2.6Ghz (FD, not TD), and lower 700 (AT&T).

          I would expect an Apple iPhone to be tested on more frequencies – they’ll need to test it for WCDMA on cellular, PCS and AWS if they want to get it on T-Mobile, and then LTE on all four bands it’ll support (700 upper or lower, 850, PCS, AWS).

          1. Thanks for the link. It’s amazing what they can pack onto a single piece of silicon nowadays!!

            Supporting Sprint’s future bands (and other iDEN networks’ conversion to newer technologies around the world) means convincing chipmakers to use band 26 in lieu of band 5. The difference is so minor that I hope Sprint has enough “weight” to get chipmakers to cooperate on this on a nearly universal basis over the next few years.

            I’d agree with your observation regarding more band support and testing on the iPhone 5, except for WCDMA support on AWS. I doubt that would ever happen. In the long run I can see TMO USA using that band for LTE exclusively or almost exclusively. By hook or crook they managed to get quite a bit of bandwidth in that frequency band (with the latest deal with Verizon being the “cherry on the top” in that band 🙂

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