Michael Olivero
The official blog of Michael Olivero, Software Architect & Humble Entrepreneur

The New IPhone's or iPhone 5 New Features With Illustrations

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 01:44 by Michael Olivero

With the next iPhone just around the corner, I've decided to consolidate all the rumors i have read in the past 6 months into a concise list of the ones which are most certainly coming to the iPhone.

Rumors:

The new iPhone will have a 4" screen by increasing the height and making it a true wide screen 16:9 display

All iPhones up to and including the 4S have had the similar aspect ratio of the original iPhone released back in 2007.  The new iPhone for 2012 will have a slightly longer profile with a total resolution of 640x1136.  While this may seem to make the phone significantly longer and awkward, it was accomplished efficiently and with only increasing it's physical length every so slightly.  If you look at your current iPhone, the large areas where the home button and speaker reside are reduced by about 40%.  It not too obvious in the side by side comparison below as this was just a mockup using an existing iPhone 4S modified.  With this optimal use of space, along with a slight increase in height, Apple is able to add a 4" screen while retaining the similar look & feel of the already great iPhone 4S.

The new iPhone will have a unibody case.

Unlike the previous two iPhones, where a revolutionary stainless steel frame acts as the main support for the phone while doubling as an antenna for the various services, the new iPhone will sport a unibody case.  While the rumors don't solidly say this case is made of Liquidmetal, I will go on record and almost bet the farm on it being based on Liquidmetal.  The reasons are outlined in a separate blog to be posted soon.  Liquidmetal uses a very unique manufacturing method which allows for building very precise pieces out of molds much like plastics.  This method, while challenging to work with metals, can produce more intricate pieces than traditional CNC machining of metals or aluminum.

 
 

The new iPhone will sporta faster processor

Some competing smart phones are already using quad-core cpu's and the iPad3 introduced in early 2012 uses Apple's A5X CPU which is a dual-core cpu with quad-core graphics subsystem.  This CPU is necessary to push the extra pixels the iPad3 requires (4x as much as the previous iPads).  If this CPU is used for the next iPhone, it would be sufficiently powerful for all of the iPhone's needs as it's resolution is significantly lower and consequently making the next iPhone that much more faster on graphics when compared to the iPad3.  It's possible Apple may introduce the quad-core A6 processor, but this might simply be an overkill making battery suffer -- a high priority in a mobile device with aconstrained battery such as the iPhone and other smart phones.

 

The new iPhone will sport a thinner profile

The new iPhone, with the screen flush, will be 7.6mm thin.  If you want to compare how thin this is when looking at the current iPhone, imagine an iPhone4 or 4S with both of the glass pieces on the back and front removed.  This is approximately how thing the next iPhone will be and it's significant.  How can they do this without shorting battery life?  Two ways, one is of course ever improving battery technology and secondly by using an in-cell panel for the screen.  This simply means the screen and touch technology are built together reducing the space needed to fit both technologies separately as with previous generation iPhones.  Apple's new supplier, Sharp, also confirmed shipments of this new screen a few days ago.

 

The new iPhone will utilize next generation cellphone technology called LTE (Long Term Evolution)

The first generation iPhone utilized EDGE, which was limited to about 128Kbs speeds and was good for emails and basic data, however wasn't good for general web surfing.  The original iPhone ushered in the mobile data era and not too much later, the next generation iPhone (iPhone 3G) ushered in the next generation mobile data - 3G.  As cellphone companies, particularly AT&T, struggled to keep up with data demands it was clear higher speeds where necessary.  In the US, HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) became the GSM standard for 3G on AT&T's network and later, with the iPhone 4S, introduced yet an upgraded version termed HSPA+ which provides very high speeds under ideal conditions.  The HSPA+ standard however was still not efficient and yet a newer, data oriented, transmission technology was necessary -- LTE.  With LTE (Long Term Evolution), we are littering entering the broadband era for mobile devices.  The speed at which your mobile devices operate is largely indistinguishable from your home broadband speeds with low latency and large throughput.  Early LTE chipsets, similar to initial 3G chipsets, where power hungry and significantly drained the battery when compared to the previous generation 3G and EDGE respectively.  With iPhone5, the LTE chipsets have improved significantly, even within the last 6 months, making LTE more suitable.  Verizon has the largest deployment of LTE, while AT&T has the largest deployment of HSPA+ with LTE available in about 25% of the population Verizon covers.  AT&T however claims more consistent speeds when switching in and out of LTE while Verizon will allegedly switch to their slower 3G technology.  Incidentally, for those which may require voice and data use simultaneously, Verizon's 3G has a small imitation where data cannot be used while on a phone call unlike AT&T's.  The choice of carrier for the new iPhone has become that much more difficult to decide.  Regardless if you choose Verizon or AT&T, you'll have access to the latest LTE speeds where available.

New Smaller Dock Connector

The next iPhone will certainly have a smaller dock connector.  Lots of miniaturization has occurred in the last ten years and retaining same 30pin dock connector now certainly start to impact the space utilization in modern devices.  As a result, Apple has little choice but to update the dock connector to not only support modern protocols such as USB3 or Thunderbolt, but also from a footprint perspective making it smaller.  The actual pin out is unknown with certainty, but you can expect it to be smaller and fit universally in either orientation unlike the existing dock connector which fits only in one orientation.

 
 

Relocated Microphone Jack

When you hold your phone in your hand, you hold it upright.  When you place it in your pocket, you usually place it top down while holding it in the same orientation.  If you have the audio headphones plugged on the top, as with previous generations, this would require you to reorient your phone in your hand prior to placing it in your pocket so the headphones remain in the upward position.  With the next iPhone, the headphone jack is relocated to the bottom and this particular scenario & inconvenience is alleviated.

 

Next Major Version of iOS, iOS6

  • As traditional with all previous releases of iPhone, the next iPhone will certainly be released with iOS6.  There are many interesting features of iOS6.
    1. New Maps application utilizing SVG graphics for better realtime scalling
    2. Turn by Turn Directions
    3. New Alarm features such as wake up to iTunes song
    4. New Bluetooth features such as specific group synching rather than all contacts
    5. Deeper Twitter integration as well as Facebook as an OS feature API available to all applications
    6. New metallic-like refresh in many areas such as phone & iPod apps, etc.
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Macbook Air 2012 11" i5 vs. i7 Heat, Fan, Battery, & Speed Comparison - Part 2

Wednesday, 1 August 2012 21:47 by Michael Olivero
Part 1 of this review is located here.

After reading through the first version of this post, some have asked for CPU intensive tasks such as Handbrake. Additionally, the first post didn't measure battery in a perfectly controlled fashion so this time around one of the experiments focused on that.

For these tests, I once again prepared the MacBook Air 11" 2012 with raw data sources for stressing the CPU.  This included an 8gb raw DVD source files placed on the desktop to leverage the SSD's read speed as well as placing 40gb iPhoto library.  Once the MacBook Air 2012 11" i5 was all setup, I once again cloned it to other MacBook Air 2012 11" i7 in preparation for the tests.

The tests include (a) a single cpu iPhoto database rebuild, (b) a multi-cpu Handbrake encoding, (c) a real world battery test lasting three hours of continued use, and (d) a handbrake with the i7 MacBook while in docked under a 27" apple display in the closed clam shape mode.

Part1 - iPhoto database rebuild

I have a very large 40+ gigabyte library for iPhoto (photos only as I have video's elsewhere) and it was really really sluggish.  I initially though it was due to the hard drive not able to keep up with all the media, however after copying the iPhoto library to my MacBookAir i5 I found it shocking it was as slow and sluggish with the infamous spinning colorful beach ball like cursor.  Upon discovering how to repair the iPhoto library (something I recommend everyone apply using this blog I additionally wrote ) I started to time the various repair processes simultaneously on both machines. The first repair was rather quick, about 20 seconds or so, and entailed rebuilding the permissions (the first option in the iPhoto repair dialog).  

In most cases the i7 finished a few seconds quicker than the i5 -- except for one instance where it finished a few seconds later.  I was intrigued and investigated further only to discover a running process was running and temporarily taking up about 20% cpu.  After a bit of research, I discovered the running process was spotlight indexing parts of the drive.  Clearly this process would distort the accuracy of any experiments by a small margin, so I dug further and discovered how to stop spotlight indexing temporarily with a small command line executed through the terminal app.

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To start it up again after all your tests, you can issue the load command as follows:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

 

I'm not sure if spotlight is resource intensive to the point one looses 10 or 15% battery, but I may consider having a quick script so I can activate and deactivate it conveniently if it indeed uses valuable battery.  With spotlight disabled, the i7 continuously and predictably completed the iPhoto permission repair routing a few seconds ahead of the i5.

Main Test - iPhoto Rebuild Thumbnails

This test was straight forward.  I simply started iPhoto in repair mode (holding Command + Option while launching iPhoto) and started them both while also starting the timer on my iPhone.

 Again, as I did in the previous blog's tests, I measured CPU temperature, fan speed, overall progress and the final finish times.  The repair database process seems to be a single threaded process as only one CPU fired up to max capacity throughout the test as shown in this cpu monitoring tool called Menu Meters.

 

 MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
 CPU TempFan SpeedCPU TempFan Speed
0:1569 degrees2001rpm85degrees2002rpm
5:0072 degrees1999rpm90degrees2240rpm
10:0074 degrees1995rpm88degrees3000rpm
15:0078degrees1998rpm84degrees3748rpm
20:0076degrees2085rpm81degrees4285rpm
25:0076degrees2441rpm77degrees4694rpm
30:0075degrees2538rpm78degrees4786rpm
35:0074degrees2573rpm77degrees4663rpm
37:52------finished pass 1
40:00------------
43:17------iPhoto Library Loaded
45:0073degrees3011------
45:33finished pass 1------
51:47iPhoto Library Loaded------

 

Conclusion:

This appeared to be a single cpu process for an extended period.  The i7 was able to run at full capacity as the fans never reached maximum operating speed.  From the final numbers, it seems the i7 has a very significant speed boost over the i5 with single CPU operations.

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
Final Time% slower than i7Final Time% faster than i5
51:4719% slower43:1716.4% faster

 

 

 

Part2 - Handbrake Encoding

To perform the hand brake encoding, I updated Handbrake to the latest version and opened the raw DVD source residing on the desktop.  By putting the DVD source on the SSD we eliminate the slow IO of an external DVD drive and maximize CPU by feeding it raw DVD as fast As the SSD can provide it. Similarly to avoid I/O bottle necks, hand brake is configured to save the encoded DVD movie on the desktop as well.

 

 

 MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
 CPU TempFan SpeedCPU TempFan Speed
2:3590 degrees2033rpm102degrees4425rpm
3:4594 degrees2408rpm100degrees5655rpm
5:1492 degrees2906rpm97degrees6497rpm
9:0088degrees3962rpm97degrees6496rpm
11:1987degrees4499rpm98degrees6496rpm
13:01------82degrees6497rpm
15:0084degrees5136rpm97degrees6502rpm
17:1482degrees5332rpm98degrees6498rpm
19:0180degrees5580rpm99degrees6500rpm
23:41------finished 
29:28finished ------

 

  

Conclusion:

Unlike the previous test, this used all available cpus and hyper threads available.  The i7 did top at 99 degrees 6500rpm fan speed and remained there for the majority of the test.  From the final numbers, it seems the i7 has a very significant speed boost over the i5.

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
Final Time% slower than i7Final Time% faster than i5
29:2819.6% slower23:4124.4% faster

This is an amazing speed increase and for anyone considering using this machine as a main computer and do not mind the spool up the fans during heavy use, the i7 seems to be the way to go.

 

Part3 - Battery Test Real World Usage

For the battery test, I charged both MacBooks to 100% and left them plugged in for an additional 30 minutes for any left over trickle charge.  I setup a web page which does not cache and auto reloads the USAToday web site every 10 seconds.  In addition to this, I launched Windows in a VMWare session configured to use 3gigs (of the total 8gb the machine has) and additionally configure Windows so it does not go to sleep.  By leaving windows running like this, the CPU's were gradually above 5-10% of use as shown in the video.  This along with the browser refreshing should resemble a typical day of usage.  Since I started the test around 3AM, I configured the MacBooks to go to sleep after 3 hours.  Upon waking up, I can check the battery meter and compare them among both machines.

 

Conclusion:

As expected the i7 consumed a bit more power than the i5 under normal loads.  The consumption however is less significant, comparatively speaking to the gains in CPU from the above previous test.  This can be interpreted as a more efficient CPU under normal operating conditions. In simple terms, it can do more work with less power -- so long as you are not a power user who pushes the computer to high limits often.  The results after opening the MacBooks the following morning:

MacBook Air 2012 11" i5MacBook Air 2012 11" i7
% Battery Left % Battery Left 
38% 29% 

Normalized over the entire battery, you are looking at a difference of about 12%.  Meaning, should the MacBooks stayed on, the i7 would have shut off on it's while the i5 would still have approximately 12% charge left.

 

 

Part4 - HandBrake Test while docked in clamshell mode

Since I plan to use my MacBook Air primarily in clamshell mode while at home or office, it's performance in this mode is very important to me.  I was VERY surprised with the performance findings in this mode.  I did anticipate a higher cpu temperature due to reduced airflow, however I found other surprises too.

 

 

Unconvinced, I decided to cross check if the i5 also suffers from this. My initial guess is no, because it has better thermal characteristics than the i7. Indeed, that was the case. Below is the same handbrake video being performed by the i5 in clam shell mode.

Conclusion:

Based on my clam shell mode test, it's clear the CPU never went above 100 degrees and instead the CPU's processing power is reduced to control temperature.  In clam shell mode it does indeed not get enough circulation for cooling purposes and instead of the machine overheating or shutting down altogether like the iPad in sunlight, it simply reduces the processing power of the CPU.  in this case, it was reduced significantly enough where it was roughly 25% slower than the i5 in open mode sitting on a desk.

 

Overall Conclusion

While the speed increases make the i7 shine when compared to the i5 model, these bursts of speed are most likely not sustainable unless you are in a properly cooled environment and working in the typical open mode.  If you plan to use MacBook in clam shell mode, then most definitely the MacBook Air 11" i5 model is way to go for it's superior thermal properties.  If on the other hand you have small bursts of power needs, the i7 will give you a good bang for the buck.