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Apple iPhone 5 Raises the Bar for Smartphone Design

After the iPhone 5 launch, as Apple faces the challenge of meeting market demand, mobile brands are considering what the next generation of smartphone will be. Specifications of any individual components are not the key to a successful smartphone, but how they work together to achieve new levels of performance. The iPhone 5 shows that thinness, power efficiency, and advanced performance can coexist if the brand has very strong design capability and is partnered with top-tier component vendors.

Before the iPhone 5 launch, we forecast that the reduction in display thickness from in-cell touch would be used to for a larger battery, but it turns out that the battery capacity is almost same as the iPhone 4S: 1,440 vs. 1,432 mAh, both 5.3Wh. Instead, Apple made the iPhone 5 slimmer: 7.9 vs. 9.3 mm for the iPhone 4S. In addition to adopting in-cell touch and eliminating the back cover glass, Apple used more advanced technologies and components to achieve the goals of high performance and power consumption. These will be objectives that other brands want to achieve in 2013. High-end smartphones are likely to emphasize the following features in 2013:

  • Thinner. Tier-one panel makers have indicated that their in-cell touch smartphone panel designs can be 1.9 mm thick, including cover lens, nearly as thin as AMOLED panels.
  • Advanced CPU. Apple’s A6 SoC is reportedly dual core and not based on ARMIP, but rather Apple’s own design. In the A6, clock speed is only one way to judge performance. Apple’s ability to design and work with an advanced IC foundry to achieve the optimal combination of performance and power consumption is not possible for most mobile brands, who do not have such capabilities or huge sales volume for a single product: we expect iPhone sales will be over 135 million units this year. ARMand other application processor vendors have technologies such as multiple cores and “big.LITTLE” to allow high performance with low power consumption; other mobile brands will most likely work with these vendors in order to save time and money, given no other model will sell as many units.
  • The GPU (graphics processor unit) is increasingly important. There are reportedly 3 GPU cores in the A6 SoC (possibly a PowerVR SGX 543MP3 running at 266MHz), which highlights that the role of the GPU will be more important for complicated image rendering in smartphones.
  • Efficient RFPA (radio frequency power amplifier) for LTE. Industry sources indicate that at LTE output of 23 dBm, power consumption is almost six times that of HSUPA output of 15 dBm. Reducing power consumption of LTE RF components is critical with the 4G market growing.
  • Anonymous

    Exactly how is it “raising the bar on design”? If anything, its lowered the bar by using cheap materials to appear lavish… but its not. (FYI, real brushed aluminum does not scratch easily). 

  • http://www.facebook.com/djwindsor David Brier

    Mine’s GORGEOUS you putz!!

  • David Hays

    The case is machined from a billet of aluminum, and the phone is manufactured to higher tolerances than any other consumer electronics device.

  • Anonymous

    Apple: copy iPhone 4s and make it longer and we have just raised bar?? :-D
    how brainwashed must be the author :-D

  • http://www.dazeinfo.com/2012/10/11/despite-of-numbers-of-issues-iphone-5-could-amplify-competition-in-smartphone-segment/ Despite Of Numbers Of Issues, iPhone 5 Could Amplify Competition In Smartphone Segment

    [...] other existing contenders. In addition to this, it’s also expected that Apple could sell over 135 million units of iPhone this years and of course, iPhone 5 will play a significant role in total shipments [...]

  • Robert Wade

    This is clearly an iSheep article.  Apple has been BEHIND the competition since iPhone 4.  The OEMs have been kicking out more impressive hardware in the Android realm and STILL the iPhone doesn’t support NFC or wireless charging.  Even Windows Phone now supports more advanced hardware.  I’m just so sick of the people who would buy a fecal brick from Apple and claim it was gold.  The iPhone 5 is a disappointment and so is iOS 6—-my wife absolutely HATES iOS 6 and wants to drop back.

    This is the post-Jobs Apple.  Sadly, the iSheep will keep Apple going for some time to come.

  • NoName

    Well … iPhone5 is disappointing , as I cannot even recognize it from iphone4S when I see it in the shops … however, for an engineering perspective, I quite agree that it will be difficult to beat iPhone5 performances. … but this is maybe not what the average end customer may be excited with … (lower power, faster A6 proc,  slightily thinner display etc etc … ) … I think Shawn Lee who wrote the article is very much display professional and realizes how challenging it was to build the iphone5 …

  • Anonymous

    no, just the benchmarks are not optimized for more cores
    how can iPhone be more efficient than quad-core?? nonsense ;)

  • http://easternmorningherald.com/apple-iphone-5-earns-praise-for-exemplary-smartphone-design/1220376/ Apple iPhone 5 Earns Praise for Exemplary Smartphone Design - Eastern Morning Herald

    [...] his note, Lee singled out how the design allowed for a larger, more efficient battery and higher-end performance despite [...]

  • APKurt

    In most daily use tasks the iphone 5 is just faster…even without quad-core: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJpaUCpfB88&feature=related

  • Anonymous

    ok, Ive seen and you just lie ;) sometimes is faster that and that
    but if you want to compare properly, compare Nexus with Jelly Bean ;)
    it would be like you compare MS-DOS (iOS) to Windows :)

  • http://www.itproportal.com/ Desire Athow

    Not sure what you mean by not based on ARM IP. The Ax series, it has been proven, is ARM-based.

  • http://expertsupportnj.com/2012/10/apple-remains-a-trendsetter-with-iphone-5/ Apple Remains a Trendsetter with iPhone 5 — Expert Support NJ

    [...] Lee of Display Search Blog predicts that there are several notable features about the iPhone 5 that will set the standard for [...]