Apple in talks to Acquire Imagination Technologies for PowerVR GPUs

In what is likely good news for Qualcomm, Apple has confirmed they are in talks with mobile graphics designers Imagination Technologies. While Apple has denied making or considering an offer at this point in time, they may yet reconsider. Imagination Technologies is known for their PowerVR series of GPUs, integrated into Apple SoCs since the A4 and used in some Intel Atom SoCs as well; Apple currently owns a decent chunk of Imagination stock already.

Apple has a tendency to bring more and more development in-house. Back in 2008, Apple acquired PA Semi which eventually led to in-house CPU designs started with Swift for the A6 SoC. Bringing the GPU development in-house also makes sense for Apple as it will bring them better control over the direction and vision for the future. By doing their CPU designs, Apple was able to increase their IPC lead their competitors significantly as those firms had to rely on ARM and Qualcomm, both who were slow to the IPC and 64bit game.

If Apple does snatch up Imagination, that leaves Qualcomm and ARM as the only 2 major mobile GPU designers left. This may allow Nvidia to make some gains with their Tegra lineup and might even entice AMD to re-enter the market if the conditions are right.

 

HTC Announces A9 Smartphone

HTC has unveiled the A9 smartphone which features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Octa-core 64-bit processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz while the other four operate at 1.2GHz. The handset supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz and opts for Dolby Hi-Res Audio. In terms of storage, the base unit contains 16GB with 2GB of RAM while the more expensive model utilizes 32GB ROM and 3GB RAM. Thankfully, there is a MicroSD expansion slot which allows the storage to be upgraded to a maximum of 2TB.

This handset will be the first from HTC is support Android 6.0 by default and adopts a similar visual design to the iPhone 6. The 2150 mAh battery is disappointing although it does support Quick Charge 2.0. The handset also features a 13-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and a sapphire cover lens which can shoot video in 1080p. Additionally, there is optical image stabilization to reduce movement during photographs. The front camera’s specification hasn’t been revealed but I would presume the sensor to be around 5-megapixels.

The smartphone’s display is a 5″ 1920×1080 Super AMOLED panel and also utilizes a fingerprint reader. As you might expect, the handset is constructed from a metal uni-body and oozes quality. Pre-orders are currently available from HTC’s website and begin at $399.99 for a limited time only.

Reports of iPhone 6S & Plus Randomly Powering Down

Smartphones have moved on leaps and bounds over the last decade, the processing power which is confined within a portable device is quite mind-blowing. But, these devices do have their problems which include generally poor battery life and a tendency to break if dropped, unlike that Nokia 1100 model which would puncture the floor while leaving the phone unharmed.

Talking of glitches, there seems to be a new problem which has been reported by many consumers who have upgraded to iOS 9 while using the iPhone 6S and iPhone Plus. According to reports via various tech forums, the devices in question “randomly and unexpectedly power off” which is certainly inconvenient. Users also report that their phones power down even if the battery is fully charged while others have noticed the home button felt warm or even hot. These reports have been mainly attributed to the above models, although one consumer noted similar problems on the iPhone 5S.

Below are responses from consumers concerning this issue

“I overslept this morning, because my phone quit working overnight! (no alarm) I tried the power button, but it was unresponsive. When I went to try a hard reset, I BURNED my finger on the home button”

The screen was off, and the phone rang. The screen remained dark, but the ringing kept going, but couldn’t be answered. The home button was EXTREMELY hot, and the only way to get the screen back on was to hard boot it (home and power buttons)”

“Happened twice, bought 6s+ (9.1 beta 2) on Friday was dead on Saturday night while charging. Happened again Monday afternoon. Reset all settings and nothing since. Am currently running beta 3.”

Consumers have since upgraded their phones to iOS 9.0.2 and are waiting to see if the problem reappears. There is speculation although no firm conclusion as of yet that the glitches might be down to the A9 processor within the iPhone 6S, which had two manufacturers; TSMC and Samsung.

Unfortunately, the nature and power of these phones will always lead to glitches and errors, Apple will need to ensure such instances are dealt with in a speedy manner with the aim of avoiding potential negative consumer views of the brand. Consumers will also be hoping that any bug fix updates do not introduce new problems to their devices, as in the case of the botched bug fix for iOS 8.

Thank you cnet and macrumors for providing us with this information.

Apple iPhone 6S Teardown Confirms Weaker Battery

IFixIt has performed a comprehensive technical Teardown of the iPhone 6S to examine the handset’s build quality and overall construction. The iPhone 6S features an Apple A9 processor with embedded M9 motion co-processor, 4.7-inch 1334×750 (326 ppi) screen containing 3D touch functionality, 7000 series aluminium enclosure and Ion-X glass making for the best protection on the market today. Additionally, the device opts for a 12-megapixel iSight rear camera featuring 4K video recording. The front shooter is a fairly standard 5-megapixel sensor and you can choose between 16GB/64GB/128GB SKUs.

As with any modern Apple device, a range of tools and patience is required to do a component rundown. This is only a brief overview, and the complete guide can be found here. Apple utilized the usual array of ribbon flaps and hidden screws, but the new Taptic-engine takes up quite a large amount of space. Furthermore, the display assembly is rather hefty at 60 grams, and marks a 15 gram increase from the previous model. Rather surprisingly, the panel section weighs the same as Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus handset.On another note, the 3D touch sensor is labeled 343S00014 which doesn’t pinpoint to any major manufacturer but falls in line with Apple’s ICs. The battery capacity has been reduced from 1810 mAh to 1715 and comes in at 3.8V, 6.55 Whr. Apple had to reduce the battery size and capacity due to the Taptic Engine and thicker display. Finally, here is a complete rundown of the logic board ICs:

  • Apple A9 APL0898 SoC + Samsung 2 GB LPDDR4 RAM (as denoted by the markings K3RG1G10BM-BGCH)
  • Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE Cat. 6 Modem (vs. the MDM9625M found in the iPhone 6)
  • InvenSense MP67B 6-axis Gyroscope and Accelerometer Combo (also found in iPhone 6)
  • Bosch Sensortec 3P7 LA 3-axis Accelerometer (likely BMA280)
  • TriQuint TQF6405 Power Amplifier Module
  • Skyworks SKY77812 Power Amplifier Module
  • Avago AFEM-8030 Power Amplifier Module
  • 57A6CVI
  • Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking IC
  • Toshiba THGBX5G7D2KLFXG 16 GB 19 nm NAND Flash
  • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S00043 Wi-Fi Module
  • NXP 66V10 NFC Controller (vs. 65V10 found in iPhone 6)
  • Apple/Dialog 338S00120 Power Management IC
  • Apple/Cirrus Logic 338S00105 Audio IC
  • Qualcomm PMD9635 Power Management IC
  • Skyworks SKY77357 Power Amplifier Module (likely an iteration of the SKY77354)

The Apple iPhone 6S has some rather subtle under-the-hood changes but feels quite iterative compared to its predecessor.

What do you think of the iPhone 6S hardware?

Thank you IFixIt for providing us with this information. 

First Glimpse at Apple’s A9 Processor

There’s been an abundance of leaks of Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus leading up to its official release this Wednesday. We already know that the 6S models will feature Force Touch display technology – which was initially designed for implementation on the MacBook Pro and has become a popular feature on the Apple watch – and the approximate retail prices for each variant, but now we’ve been given our first glimpse of the chipset that will be powering the new handset, the A9 processor.

The A9 is produced by Samsung, who beat out previous chip provider TSMC to reunite with Apple. Prior to the A8, made by TSMC, Samsung provided Apple with all its chips, but a series of legal disputes drove a wedge between the two companies. For production of the new A9 chip, Samsung implemented its 14nm production process, which is said to have given the chip a smaller footprint than the A8.

The following photos, courtesy of GeekBar, reportedly show the A9, front and back, plus the iPhone 6S’ flash memory chip, size unknown, though we do know that models will include 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options.

Reports suggest that the A9 clocks in at 1.8GHz, with single-core and multi-core tallies of 2248 and 4036, respectively.

Samsung to Make Apple A9 Chips for the Next iPhone

Samsung has won the new contract to build Apple A9 processors for the next iPhone model, stealing the role back from rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), sources close to the matter have revealed to Bloomberg. Samsung will begin manufacture of the A9 chip at its Giheung plant in South Korea, while additional orders will be handled by Samsung partner Globalfoundries Inc.

Prior to the A8 chip, Samsung was Apple’s go-to semiconductor manufacturer, but their relationship crumbled after a series of legal disputes, at which point Apple opted for TSMC as its new chipmaker. Reclaiming the Apple processor contract will help Samsung challenge TSMC, which became the second-largest chip manufacturer during its time providing chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads, with the semiconductor industry market worth an estimated $300 billion.

Song Myung Sup, an analyst from Seoul’s HI Investment & Securities, thinks that Samsung’s new contract might bring further contracts, saying, “If Globalfoundries quickly adopts Samsung’s most advanced technology and increases yield, it could also win orders from Qualcomm.”

Samsung, Globalfoundries, and Apple all refused to comment.

Huawei Ascend P6S To Feature K3V2+ SoC

For the better part of the last 12 months, almost all of Huawei’s top-end phones were launched with their home-made K3V2 chipset. Sadly, the chip is simply not fast enough to match up to its rivals. Even the Snapdragon S4 APQ8064 pulls ahead of it with ease, and that part can be blamed on the old ARM Cortex A9 CPU architecture based CPU cores in the said SoC.

Well, it looks like the rumored Huawei K3V3, which is based on the ARM Cortex A15 CPU architecture, is nowhere near ready as the Chinese phone maker’s next device, the Ascend P6S. The handset is an updated version of the P6 which is currently undergoing testing with some very impressive Antutu scores. Antutu benchmarks from the Huawei P6S have been discovered and posted across the Chinese technology scene and they are mighty impressive.

The P6S is allegedly powered by an updated K3V2+ chipset. Once again, Huawei’s solution is seriously underpowered compared to competition, with the leaked AnTuTu score lying in the less-than-impressive 22,000 range. And that can be attributed to the fact that Huawei didn’t move beyond Cortex A9 for the updated chip.

The Huawei P6S is likely to launch between the end of November to the start of December. Unless it gets any slimmer while offering a ton of other new features, we fail to grasp the device would get consumers excited in any way.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.