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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending March 9

John Cox | March 12, 2012
This week, existential angst about The Name, new iPad's revelations about the new iPhone, being unclear on Clearwire, and a formula for creating your own conclusion about The Date for iPhone 5.

The analysts noted that they're still sorting through the not-very-many details known about the new CPU.

"The chips used in the first two iPads, the A4 and A5, both made their way into a new iPhone soon after," Shaw writes. "But the A5X, with its heavy focus on graphics, may not be ideal for smartphone use, and Apple may wait for a more power-efficient chip built with a new manufacturing process."

"I think that this new chip is probably just for the iPad," says Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst of The Linley Group. "It looks like they planned ahead for this."

Apple's earlier A4 and A5 chips, and the new A5X are all based on an ARM processor core, typically the Cortex-A9, which is widely used in many other phones. "Many current ARM-based chips are manufactured with a 40-nanometer process, but a shift to 28 nanometers is expected later this year," with the release of silicon based on the faster, more power-efficient Cortext-A15.

For the next iPhone, Apple may focus more on battery life than graphics, Gwennap suggests. "In that case, it may wait for a chip manufactured on a 28-nanometer manufacturing process, which should make the chip more power-efficient and cheaper to produce," he said.

iPhone 5 will run on Clearwire's LTE network...when it gets built

Over at the aptly-URL'ed, a headline declares "iPhone 5 May Now Be Able to Operate on Clearwire." 

The really confusing, if not insane, part is the use of the word "now" since neither the iPhone 5 nor Clearwire's wholesale LTE network (of which Sprint will be the main carrier customer) actually exist. Fierce Wireless reported recently that Clearwire says "its first wave of TD-LTE 5,000 cell sites up and running by June 2013."

"According to Eric Prusch, Clearwire's CEO, their strategy to shift to LTE will make it very easy for any iPhone to use their Network and it could prove to be a big benefit for the fruit company," Delaon writes.

Somehow we doubt Prusch actually said that, since the only phones that could use an LTE network are phones equipped with an LTE radio. Right now, that would mean no iPhones. And the idea that the "fruit company" would reap a "big benefit" from a network that won't exist in any meaningful sense for at least a year strikes us as far-fetched.

Delaon notes that Clearwire is building a TD-LTE (for "Time Division" network, a standard which emerged from China and uses a different duplexing scheme than the main standard being deployed in the U.S., FD (for Frequency Division) LTE.

"This [TD-LTE] network is somehow different compared to FD-LTE variant which seems to have been favored by Sprint, Verizon and AT&T networks," Delaon writes, apparently without having a browser handy to Google "what's the difference between FD and TD LTE networks?"


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