iPhone 5 said to tap Broadcom BCM4330 chip for wireless file sharing with Macs

By , Jun 2, 2012

9to5Mac reports to have ‘discovered’ a Broadcom chip inside one of the prototypes of the next iPhone. The write-up specifically menions Broadcom’s BCM4334 unit, basically a single-chip, dual-band silicon that supports 802.11n WiFi networking, Bluetooth 4.0+HS and an integrated FM radio receiver.

A successor to Broadcom’s BCM4330 – itself fabbed on the 65-nanometer process and found inside the iPad 3 and iPhone 4S – the newer BCM4334 unit is built on the 40-nanometer process, resulting in significant power savings.

As a result of using this chip in the next iPhone, Apple should be able to mitigate power drain stemming from the bigger screen and LTE radios while making a thinner device overall. That’s just the beginning. Read on…

Piggy-backing on a report by The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino from ten days ago, editor Seth Weintraub claimed in a 9to5Mac article that Apple will use dual-band WiFi chip to enable direct peer-to-peer file transfers between next-gen iOS devices and certain Mac models.

The author first points to a handy description of the Broadcom BCM4330 unit over at Anandtech that mentions power reduction in the range of 40-50 percent and “dramatically reduced standby power by 3 orders of magnitude”. For example, the older BCM4330 in full Rx mode consumes around 68mA, while its successor the BCM4334 consumes 36mA at the same voltage.

Anandtech also mentions this important feature:

The combo device also features advanced switching techniques that enable concurrent dual-band operation to simultaneously support network connectivity with one band while also allowing content streaming via technologies such as Wi-Fi Display and Wi-Fi Direct.

Weintraub then concludes:

The new iPhone will be the first iOS device that meets that Apple standard for AirDrop and therefore we could easily see the Lion adhoc file sharing protocol added to iOS 6.

As you know, it’s currently possible to synchronize your iOS device wirelessly with desktop iTunes, but ad hoc file transfer is not possible. As a result, it’s not possible to use Image Capture on the Mac to export camera roll images when iTunes Wi-Fi sync is enabled unless your device is connected to a computer via a USB cable.

You also cannot copy files via iTunes File Sharing unless the device is physically connected to your computer.

Dual-band WiFi capability solves these issues in one fell swoop.

It certainly gives Apple a reason to bump the Wifi chip up to this more expensive dual mode version that was just announced in late February. Wifi Direct is also used in more and more printers as well, but its main purpose is making wireless file sharing extremely easy, as Google does in its Galaxy Nexus devices.

OS X Lion has a feature called AirDrop for ad hoc wireless file transfers between Macs equipped with dual-band Wi-Fi cards.

Theoretically speaking, with the dual-band Broadcom BCM4334 making its way inside the next iPhone, Apple could easily enable AirDrop file transfers between next-generation iOS devices and Macs:

With Apple’s easy-to-understand interface, an iOS AirDrop feature could make sharing between Macs and iOS devices and between iOS devices (or dare we say to Android devices?) beyond simple.

Here’s an overview of AirDrop in OS X Lion (mark 2:54).

So, with this in mind, we’ll finally be able to cut the cord forever and not only sync wirelessly with iTunes, but also beam files, copy camera roll images and more to the Mac, all over the air.

If this is in the cards, a dedicated iOS app to handle documents storage and file transfers would be needed.

Files.app, anyone?

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  • http://twitter.com/BlueSpArKyB Bhavesh Patel

    Is this like SSH

    • http://www.facebook.com/tyler155 Tyler Chervo

      No, SSH stands for Secure Shell Host, shell meaning a command line. Unless you were reffering to SFTP(SSH File Transfer Protocol). This would be a lot easier though due to a simpler interface and no jailbreak would be required

  • Wael Abdo

    this is way cooler than ssh, lets hope it supports third party apps like dropbox and so on…

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a winner. Although the geek in me would like 802.11ac I know it’s simply not ready yet for mass consumption. I’m all about AirDrop in iOS 6 and more power efficient broadband hardware.

    I do think there will be some mechanism or app “AirDrop” that will collect files and allow us to move the files to the most suitable app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1657474342 Proinsias Matthews

    I know this isn’t the right place to post this but how can I upload notes from the stock notes app to dropbox? Or is it even possible?

  • Anonymous

    “You mean the fifth iphone is going to have something that piece of shit dumbphones have had for years”, in sarcastic voice. :-) Hell ya, i cant wait. Oh, wait, i already have this with my android. Oh, and i can view my gs2 as a wireless drive as well. Yes, i know, its an apple related blog, and no, im not a fandroid. Just pointing out how stupid it is for apple to finally bring something that should have been there since day one.

    • Anonymous

      Apple does this with everything and always improves on it, remember copy and paste. It had been around for a couple of years on most phones except the iPhone and now its the easiest thing do. Apple takes there time to take a step back and look to see how to make certain features work seamlessly and easy for everyone. Not trying to hate, just saying Apple never ceases to amazing me

    • http://twitter.com/ProZack27 Zachary Sloane

      Not a fandroid? A troll then I suppose.

      • Anonymous

        Really, your calling me a troll. Wow, thats sad. I dont sit here on a daily basis making stupid replies to make me sound like a troll. If anything, sitting there calling someone a troll, that barley comments on this site, sounds pretty trollish to me.. Just saying.

  • Anonymous

    I hope it better than new ipad wifi chip, or at least same power to reach as ipad2 one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      Is your wi-fi still bad? I thought you could switch it out at an Apple Store? So far I haven’t noticed any problems with my wifi iPad 3. It actually has better wi-fi than my iPhone lol.

      • Anonymous

        several of my friend compared it to ipad2 not iphone. they bought it from another country since the new ipad has’nt arrived yet in our country. The switching can be easily same day service on apple stores, not resellers where apple store not exits. Arguing for switching bad dead pixels, and international warranty needs time…

  • Anonymous

    1, i said piece of shit dumbphones, like a motorola razor. 2, my samsung galaxy s2 came stock with 2.3.4, not 4.0. And the stock software has all kinds of file sharing features, and the samsung kies software makes my phone a wireless drive, whether it works by creating an adhoc network off the phone, i dont know, but on the same wifi network, i could share with any device. Also, what i was referring to was the fact that you could share files from piece of shit phones via bluetooth, wifi, text, etc. And apple is finally bringing something like that to a phone that should have had a long time ago. Besides, all you have to do is create a adhoc network of your laptop, PC or Mac, and can easily share files between most android phones, Bellow 4.0 software.