Rumor: low-powered M7 successor code-named ‘Phosphorous’ to collect health and fitness data (Updated)

iOS 8 (Health, teaser 001)

An Apple chip internally code-named ‘Phosphorous’ has been identified on leaked schematics and thought to replace the M7, a motion coprocessor which debuted inside the iPhone 5s last Fall. (Update: It’s looking like a barometer pressure sensor instead.)

It’s said to include the M7’s motion tracking functions and thought to be able to collect a number of health and fitness data from various health and fitness accessories and specialized medical devices.

This apparently includes heart rates, calories burned, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and more. It’s believed the chip works in tandem with iOS 8 and the new Health app, which allows users to enter a number of health and fitness-related data manually, or automatically collect these from various HealthKit-friendly accessories and wearables.

The below shot has been shared by Chinese Apple repair firm GeekBar on Weibo and republished by GforGames. The technical drawing clearly depicts a chip that appears to be internally code-named ‘Phosphorous’.

If genuine, it should arrive alongside the rumored Apple-designed A8 processor and make its debut inside the iPhone 6 and new iPads.

Apple Phosphorus (GeekBar 001)

Although the report shares little in terms of the specifics, it’s safe to assume that the Phosphorus will supplant the M7 to support the new Health app and Apple’s HealthKit platform for specialized devices, health and fitness accessories and more.

And if the M7 is any indication, the power-sipping Phosphorus should be able to collect data from health and fitness accessories without waking up the main A8 processor, thus helping preserve battery life.

The same source, GeekBar, previously shared alleged schematics identifying the iPhone 6’s NAND flash component, 128GB of flash storage and the Qualcomm MDM9625 modem with support for up to 150Mbps LTE-Advanced wireless networks.

The M7 motion coprocessor is literally a rebranded NXP-made LPC18A1 unit so it’ll be interesting seeing whether the Phosphorus is an existing NXP design or Apple’s in-house designed unit.

Although Phosphorous is a catchy marketing name for a chip, I believe that Apple will go with an ‘M8’ for the sake of naming consistency. Of course, an iWatch immediately comes to mind as such a low-powered chip would be needed to collect data on Apple’s rumored wearable device in a power efficient manner.

Interestingly enough, Morgan Stanley expects the iPhone 6’s rumored NFC functionality to be powered by NXP-made wireless hardware. For what it’s worth, the semiconductor company did sign a licensing agreement with a customer in the fourth quarter of last year that Morgan Stanley believes is Apple.

[GeekBar via GforGames]