iPhone 6 could feature faster 150Mbps LTE-Advanced support

iPhone 6 render (Mark Pelin 011)

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 could feature support for faster LTE-Advanced networking which promises theoretical download speeds of up to 300Mbps. A claimed iPhone 6 logic board photo suggests Apple may have opted for the slower 150Mbps LTE-Advanced by replacing Qualcomm’s MDM9615 chip in prior iPhones with a MDM9625 part.

Originally announced back in 2012, the MDM9625 chipset supports upload and download LTE-Advanced data speeds of 150Mbps versus the MDM9615 chip found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c which tops out at 100Mbps.

A handful of the world’s carriers have only recently begun rolling out LTE-Advanced so Apple may have opted to support only the 150Mbps LTE-Advanced in anticipation of the faster 300Mbps roll-out…

The image seen below has been shared by GeekBar on Weibo [Google Translate] and reposted by GforGames. Assuming it’s genuine, you can clearly see the Qualcomm MDM9625 LTE modem.

iPhone 6 (logic board, Qualcomm MDM9625 modem, GeekBar 001)

According to a media release dated February 27, 2012, the MDM9625 chipset is fabricated on the 28-nanometer production process, making it more power-friendly, smaller and faster than its predecessor.

It provides support for multiple mobile broadband technologies, including carrier aggregation and true LTE Category 4 with data rates of up to 150Mbps. Carrier aggregation basically bonds two 4G networks together in the area resulting in a big boost in performance.

The MDM9625 chip does not, however, include support for Category 6 LTE that some high-end Android handsets have, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A as well as the LG G3 Cat. 6.

If it means anything, remember that VentureBeat’s questionable report earlier in the month claimed the iPhone 6 would support Category 6 LTE with data speeds of 300Mbps.

Yesterday, GeekBar shared a claimed image of an iPhone 6 technical drawing, seen below. Originally, the source mistakenly interpreted the schematic as a proof that Apple’s in-house designed A8 processor powering the handset will feature 1GB of RAM, like the iPhone 5/5c/5s.

iPhone 6 (1GB of RAM, Geekbar 001)

Subsequently, however, it’s been determined that GeekBar confused DRAM included within the A8 chip for for a NAND flash storage chip with 1GB of special memory used exclusively to store the device boot firmware.

The referenced PN65V chip was later identified as a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip for mobile devices, NXP’s PN65 part. I’ve updated my article to reflect this finding.

This is interesting not only because rumors have been calling for an NFC-enabled iPhone for ages, but in the light of the fact that NXP is an Apple supplier — the firm provides the M7 motion coprocessor for the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

At any rate, LTE-Advanced is currently at the very early stage and it’s going to take a year or two until Category 6 LTE with throughput speeds of 300Mbps becomes mainstream. For now, the technology is being tried and tested in Samsung’s home turf of South Korea.

On June 1, local wireless provider SK Telecom announced it had become the world’s first telco to launch LTE Advanced network on a commercial basis..

In the United States, carrier AT&T back in March started testing LTE-Advanced in Chicago. Verizon’s LTE-Advanced roadmap is largely unknown, while T-Mobile made it clear it has big plans for LTE-Advanced.

Specifically, T-Mobile says its LTE-Advanced is three times faster than the 300Mbps standard adopted by its rivals because its technology is based on the IMT-Advanced specifications, which allows for cellular network data speeds of one gigabit per second.