New iPad Central:  Member Reviews, Comments, App/Accessory Recommendations, etc.

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    Posted: 08 March 2012 10:34 AM

    After every keynote we sit back and look at all the changes both as a consumer and a stock investor.  I thought it would be interesting to look at a few key technologies announced by Apple and the keynote and examine how that might affect the downstream subcomponent supplies.


    First up the next generation wireless announcement. (34:25)  Apple’s lists the technical spec on the ipad

    Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
    Bluetooth 4.0 technology
    Wi-Fi + 4G for AT&T model: LTE (700, 2100 MHz)3; UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    Wi-Fi + 4G for Verizon model: LTE (700 MHz)3; CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

    We get a whole lot of Acronyms which fly over peoples heads but then we have a bit of added color based on what was said in the keynote.  One of the key features mentioned in addition to LTE is DC-HSPA or Dual carrier HSPA+ which doubles data rate.  One thing often overlooked when we start talking about the sexy and new LTE, is the fact that Dual Carrier HSDPA+ has similar peak data rates with the same bandwidth and number of antennas and also similar RTT Latency, so for all those folks feeling they will miss out on improved network download speed because their city/country does not support LTE, DC-HSPA is more widely deployed.  This leads us to who is the supplier.  History is normally a great indicator when it comes to guessing who gets a particular slot, because you spend alot of energy learning a system and getting up to speed so any change in baseband suppliers is a major event for the RF guys.  Intel/Infineon announce the XMM 7160 LTE baseband in the Atom SOC, but the device is missing support for the Verizon EVDO network which pretty much means Qualcomm is in the driver seat with their new 28NM baseband the MDM 9615 for LTE and the MDM 8215 for HSPA+ deployments.  This also mostly means two additional slots for Qualcomm the WRT1605 Radio Transceiver and the PM8018 power management IC. 

    Qualcomm hspa+R8


    Looks like Anandtech has additional data on the modem.  The 9600 is an older part and if true then we lose TDSCDMA support which means China Mobile will have to wait for the Next iPhone

    It turns out that Apple has gone with Qualcomm’s MDM9600, and has given the device codename Maverick (as opposed to Trek for MDM6610). This part still contains UE Category 3 LTE, CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev.A (and B), GSM/EDGE, and WCDMA/HSPA+ all the way through DC-HSPA+ 42 Mbps. It’s a 45nm 13x13mm part we’ve seen in numerous other 4G LTE devices thus far.

    [ Edited: 15 March 2012 07:46 PM by pats ]      
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    Posted: 08 March 2012 10:45 AM #1

    The next slot of interest is the Bluetooth 4.0 and WIFI combo chip.  This slot has belong to Broadcomm in the last iPad using the BCM4329

    It looks like they keep the slot with the BCM 4330

         
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    Posted: 08 March 2012 11:29 AM #2

    The A5X processor.

    Very little detail was given about the new processor other then improved graphics peformance, but based on sticking with the A5 naming I will assume that Apple has adopted a strategy similar to Intel.  So we will see micro architecture and process shrinks done in alternating years.  Base on this theory we can guess the A5X is a Dual Core Cortex A9 with the PowerVR 543MP4 .  If Apple stuck with Samsung then most likely the A5X is based on Samsung’s 32NM High K process.

    Yang says is capable of operating up with a CPU clock at up to 1.5GHz, and down to as low as 200MHz.

     

    Process engineers can target either performance or low power in the HKMG process. With the same leakage as the 45nm process, a 32nm HKMG design would yield a 40% improvement in delay, said Yang. Alternatively, by targeting the same timing performance, leakage would be reduced by a factor of 10.

    On Apple tech specifications their is no mention of clock speed, so we will have to wait till folks get to work next week running actual benchmarks and decapping chips to find out what makes the A5X so great.

    Also of note on the A5 front is the inclusion of a single core version in the new Apple TV.  This could be the existing A5 with the second core disabled on the 45NM process or a unique SKU.

         
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    Posted: 08 March 2012 11:59 AM #3

    The Retina Display

    To make sure everything on the new iPad looks crystal clear, Apple engineers elevated the pixels onto a different plane ? separating them from the signals. It?s technology that?s breakthrough.

    Back in Dec isuppli looked at the Tablet display market


    We really have two potential competitors for the primary technology in either LG and their AH-IPS or Sharp and their IGZO.

    AH-IPS technology, an advanced form of IPS, has realizes 1.5 to 2 times the resolution of typical LCD panels. This ultra high resolution becomes particularly valuable when the emphasis is on displaying highly detailed images. The technology also improves display?s color accuracy, which in turn leads to reproduce the original color precisely without color distortion. In addition, it provides greater light transmission which translates into lower power consumption while delivering exceptional picture quality, making it ideal for use in outdoor settings.

    Japan?s Sharp Corp. has intro?duced a new oxide material consisting of indium, gallium and zinc?hence, the name IGZO?producing pixel speeds 20 to 30 times faster than amorphous silicon for quicker refresh rates. Moreover, IGZO dis?plays have higher energy levels and are more ef?cient because of the downsized transistors and increased light transmittance for each pixel.

    IGZO production can be achieved on existing amorphous silicon lines with very little modi?cations made, making it more cost competitive than low-temperature polysilicon. This new cost-competitive, high-end display will be manufactured at Sharp?s eighth-generation fab in the city of Kameyama, with production expected to start this year.

         
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    Posted: 08 March 2012 02:10 PM #4

    Hoping for IGZO.  Sharp has a good display reputation, they don’t compete with Apple the same way that LG does AFAIK, and I especially like the idea that IGZO technology has dramatically quicker refresh rates.

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    Posted: 08 March 2012 02:12 PM #5

    Great analysis as always, pats. Any doubters about the iPad’s power will be ignoring at their own peril the 42.5 watthour elephant in the room.  70% more battery than the previous generation equals a huge increase in power requirements and I would have to guess performance.

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    Posted: 09 March 2012 11:23 AM #6

    ZDnet has an interesting take on the most revolutionary feature in the new iPad.  The battery.

    Between the release of the iPad 2 last year and the announcement of the new iPad yesterday, Apple has nearly doubled the capacity of the battery, taking it from 25Wh to a massive 42Wh. Measured in milliamps this boosts the battery from 6944 mAh to a monstrous 11,666 mAh.

    The weight of iPad increased .11 lbs or 51 grams which could account for some of the improvement, but most likely Apple has moved to a new generation of Anode material like SINANode, made my a company located in Apple’s backyard, Nanosys

    What we need is another breakthrough in energy density to bring a new revolution in design.

    SiNANOde? is a silicon-graphite anode material that can double the capacity of today?s best lithium ion batteries. This means devices that can stay on for twice as long and vehicles that go twice as far. It also means we can design thinner, lighter devices without sacrificing the features that make them great like bright, beautiful displays.

    SiNANOde relies on the abundant element silicon. Silicon?s long-known ability to accept greater than 20 times as many lithium ions in its 3D-like structure than carbon. This means we can make a much more efficient battery that uses much more of the available lithium with each charge and therefore lasts much longer. Using a mix of silicon and graphite allows Nanosys to deliver a reliable material that simply drops into customers? existing manufacturing line with little need for process changes.

    But the real breakthrough of SiNANOde is not what its made of? its the shape. Nanosys grows silicon into tiny wires, just nanometers in diameter or about 6,000 times smaller than a human hair, called nanowires. This wire-like shape is able to withstand the stress and strain of over a thousand charging cycles by expanding along its length to accept all those extra lithium ions without deforming.

    Nanosys is currently working with leading battery manufacturers to bring SiNANOde to a battery near you in 2012.

         
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    Posted: 09 March 2012 11:43 AM #7

    One other area of the iPad display which recieved mention was the 44% improvement in color gamut.  The improvement reminded me of a product called Quantum Light by QD Vision

    A major trend in the LCD industry is to replace CCFL fluorescent lights with LEDs in BLUs. Today, most LCD makers use white LEDs and integrate them into side illuminated light guides, which provide the light for the display. Red, green and blue light is separated from the white spectrum of the LED by color filters, and much of the original spectrum is lost or wasted as heat. This solution leaves much to be desired. First, it is extremely energy inefficient, as only approximately 5-to-7 percent of the backlight illumination makes its way to the viewers’ eyes. Second, the color quality or gamut is reduced due to the initially incomplete white spectrum of the starting LEDs. Finally, this approach requires many more LEDs than necessary.

    QD Vision’s Quantum Light?optic enables the use of highly power efficient blue LEDs. The Quantum Light? materials convert a portion of the blue LEDs into deep red and green light, creating tri-chromatic (red, green and blue) white light, which then gets coupled into the light guide. The use of this tri-chromatic white light composed of highly saturated colors improves color gamut of the LCD from about 75-80 percent of the standard to more than 100 percent, making a brilliant, colorful image with significant power savings. In addition, the use of Quantum Light? materials saves on component and manufacturing costs, as it requires 30% fewer LEDs for backlighting.

         
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    Posted: 09 March 2012 11:54 AM #8

    Pats, absolutely awesome information! Since I am a relative newcomer here I don’t know of your technical background, but I sure appreciate it!

    The battery improvement got me thinking a bit.

    1) I wonder how long the 2nd generation iPad2 would run with the new battery?  Is the chart showing 20 hours realistic?

    2) In addition I am wondering what the life will be of the new iPad if constrained to 3G only (no LTE).  Is there a way to constrain it to 3G only?
    There are many times I would sacrifice speed for run time.

    3) I assume they will use the same capacity battery in the WiFi model?

    4) I wonder how long it will run in airplane mode with wireless and 3G/LTE off?

    Thanks again for your technical expertise!

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    Posted: 09 March 2012 12:40 PM #9

    Components for 4G LTE iPad estimated to cost $310, netting Apple 51% margins

    “Apple’s third-generation iPad will have a slightly lower profit margin of about 51 percent, based on a new estimate of hardware costs.

    The analysis from UBM TechInsights suggests that a 16-gigabyte iPad with 4G LTE connectivity costs $310 in components, up from $270.86 for the original iPad, and $276.27 for the iPad 2 at their respective launches. That would mean that Apple’s profit margins have been reduced from about 57 percent on its first two iPad models to 51 percent on the latest-generation tablet.

    The most expensive component on the third-generation iPad is believed to be its high-resolution Retina Display. UBM has estimated that the display costs $70, followed by $30 for the battery and $25 for the touchscreen.

    Other major component costs are estimated at $12.50 for the camera, $16 for NAND flash storage, $28 for the custom A5X processor, $8.50 for the SDRAM, and $7 for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS radios.”

    breakdown here:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/09/components_for_4g_lte_ipad_estimated_to_cost_310_netting_apple_51_margins.html

         
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    Posted: 09 March 2012 01:31 PM #10

    rudyo - 09 March 2012 03:54 PM

    Pats, absolutely awesome information! Since I am a relative newcomer here I don’t know of your technical background, but I sure appreciate it!

    The battery improvement got me thinking a bit.

    1) I wonder how long the 2nd generation iPad2 would run with the new battery?  Is the chart showing 20 hours realistic?

    2) In addition I am wondering what the life will be of the new iPad if constrained to 3G only (no LTE).  Is there a way to constrain it to 3G only?
    There are many times I would sacrifice speed for run time.

    3) I assume they will use the same capacity battery in the WiFi model?

    4) I wonder how long it will run in airplane mode with wireless and 3G/LTE off?

    Thanks again for your technical expertise!

    As far as background I’m a retire AF pilot with a EE degree from the Air Force Academy.  during my career when out of the cockpit, I work long range planning comm & computer requirements for Air Mobilty Command.  When I got off active duty I worked on an Army project called Precision Airdrop with Draper laboratory and Planning Systems Inc.  developing mission planning software for aerial delivery of guided cargo systems from military transport aircraft. 

    The largest user of power on the iPad is most likely the Display Back Light Unit so until someone tears an actual system down your question are difficult to answer.  The fact that Apple still claims a 10 hrs battery life on WIFI, leads me to believe the display is the main culprit in increasing power consumption with secondary from the LTE chipset and third the upgraded processor.  What I will be looking for on the BLU is how many LEDs where required compared to the old unit or what technology they used to improve the BLU, on the display I’m wondering if Sharp passed the test with their IGZO or are we using an LTPS display like the previous iPad.  Display search claims Apple is using an A-si, which I question because it typically doesnt have the electron mobility require to reach such a high resolution.  IGZO has much higher electron mobility compare to A-Si but can use the same manufacturing process where LTPS needs more steps which adds to cost. 

    On the LTE chipset it is rumored that Apple is using the MDM 9600 which Is built on a 45NM process.  Qualcomm is introducing a new chipset this year called the MDM 9615 based on the 28NM process.  A die shrink from 45NM to 28NM results in reduced power consumption and Apple said they were waiting on 2nd gen chipsets last year with iPhone 4s, but the timeline to introduce the 9615 would be extremely tight since it sampled toward the end of 2011.  If the 9615 made it to iPad then Qualcomm gave Apple the first slots on the production run, even ahead of their Krait processor, so I wait to see the chip decapped?

         
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    Posted: 15 March 2012 12:24 AM #11

    Heck, why not.  Until someone says “no” anyway.  LOL

    I’ll start with an iPad case comment:

    Amusingly, my supposedly “Super Slow” - er “Saver” Shipping order of a MarWare EcoVue 2 case from Amazon arrived exactly five days after I ordered it - even though I was quoted a delivery date of the 19th.  So, props to Amazon there for being their usual solid online retailer selves.

    As for the product itself?  As with many things, the case looked better on the Internet raspberry.  The “eco” leather-something-or-other on the cover already has a suspect crack or strain mark which could make for fun times down the road (which is why I’m keeping my case packaging around a while).  The fuzzy lining interior does feel a bit on the cheap side, but it shouldn’t cause any real scuffing.  The pull out typing stand, on the other hand, seems like it’ll work very well, even with an iPad a little thicker and heavier than it’s built for.  And the design looks like it should hold an iPad fairly securely.  The hand strap for when you fold the case over looks like it has actual utility.

    All in all, a functional-enough, no-frills case (good thing I bought it on Amazon for $27) with maybe-dubious long-term reliability, but very close to what I want for basic iPad protection, ease of carrying, and not having to worry if the case itself will significantly damage the iPad.  If you want one of those any-position iPad stand cases with fancy magnets and you want 100% assurance you can grab the case from any angle without the iPad falling out, though, look elsewhere.  Obviously can’t formally evaluate it until the iPad arrives.

    One surprise - for whatever reason I was expecting a bigger case.  My new iPad is gonna be a lot more compact than I was thinking.

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    Posted: 15 March 2012 04:48 AM #12

    Alarm clock dock recommendations?  Anyone know of other 2-dock offerings for an iPad and an iPhone/etc. aside from the Philips DC930 Dual Dock alarm clock radio (which retails for a pretty eye-watering $150)?

    I also welcome iPad app recommendations.  Any apps that do Nasdaq Level 2 quotes?  Good general purpose apps?

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    AFB Night Owl Team™
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  • Posted: 15 March 2012 08:39 AM #13

    Here is a dock that I thought was cool.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tracmac/the-billet-dock-the-easiest-ipad-and-iphone-dock?ref=live

         
  • Posted: 15 March 2012 12:54 PM #14

    I pre-ordered one of these: http://www.slashgear.com/ipad-3rd-generation-cases-by-targus-revealed-and-detailed-07217148/

         
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    Posted: 15 March 2012 02:36 PM #15

    Ifixit has their iPad in hand and have started their teardown.  Looks like a Samsung display.