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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:03 PM   #1
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Micron's LPDDR4 RAM May Improve Battery Life in Apple's 2014 Products




Apple's customers may receive a boost in performance and improved battery life from the company's 2014 products thanks to improvements in Micron's LPDDR4 DRAM technology, claims Matt Margolis (Via 9to5Mac).
According to Margolis, Micron is ramping up production of its LPDDR4 RAM and will supply Apple with memory chips for its 2014 iPad, iPhone and Mac models, which are expected to debut later this year. Margolis believes a "mystery" $250 million payment Micro received for "product to be supplied through September 2016" is from Apple as part of a multi-year deal.
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Apple is a current DRAM customer of Micron Technology, having last used Micron's LPDDR3 DRAM memory in 2013. Micron presented detailed benefits and product highlights regarding their LPDDR4 DRAM Memory technology almost a year ago. Furthermore, just yesterday Micron's Vice President of Wireless Solutions Marketing published an article highlighting the benefits of Micron's next generation DRAM LPDDR4, which tells me this technology is ready for the big show. Lastly, Micron received a mystery payment of $250m from one customer that was reported during their Q1 2014 conference call and their 10-Q indicates that the payment was "for product to be supplied through September 2016?.

Apple is in an arm's race to improve the performance of their mobile, tablet and ultrabook devices and improve overall battery life. There appears to be little doubt that Apple is going to be showing off Micron's LPDDR4 DRAM memory across their 2014 iPhones, Macbook and Tablets. You can take my word for it that Apple users are going to love how "lightning quick" the 2014 devices will be compared to the 2013 devices.
Though not confirmed, this transaction is plausible as Apple currently uses Micron's LPDDR3 DRAM in its 2013 models under the brand name of Elpida, a company that Micron acquired in July 2013. Even earlier, Apple reportedly inked a deal for DRAM chips with Elpida in 2012 that purchased half of the capacity at the firm's main manufacturing facility in Japan.

This new LPDDR4 RAM technology offers two times the bandwidth performance of the previous generation LPDDR3, while keeping power consumption low, claims Reynette Au, Micron's Vice President of Wireless Solutions Marketing, in an article at Wirelessweek.

These technological advancements in LPDDR4 RAM may complement Apple's 64-bit A-series processor, which powers the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and Retina iPad mini. Detailed analysis from Anandtech claims Apple's current A7 processor is so powerful that users are likely to encounter RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption limitations before overextending the CPU.

Article Link: Micron's LPDDR4 RAM May Improve Battery Life in Apple's 2014 Products
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:05 PM   #2
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I hope so!

I certainly hope so, the battery life would be most welcome by customers though.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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Anything that can improve battery life is a good thing. In my opinion the battery is one of the weakest aspects of the current iPhone lineup!
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:10 PM   #4
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Anything that can improve battery life is a good thing. In my opinion the battery is one of the weakest aspects of the current iPhone lineup!
For technology in general. Battery advancements have lagged big time compared to other components.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:11 PM   #5
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Apple would probably rather use the power efficient chips to allow for a thinner battery and therefore a thinner design while maintaining the same battery life.

I would rather they focus on performance instead of how thin it can be. The iPhone doesn't need to be thinner. I would rather have the iPhone 4/4s thickness in my iPhone 5s and get an improved battery.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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No one's complained about 1 GB of RAM in the current iDevices yet? I'm surprised.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:12 PM   #7
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Apple would probably rather use the power efficient chips to allow for a thinner battery and therefore a thinner design while maintaining the same battery life.

I would rather they focus on performance instead of how thin it can be. The iPhone doesn't need to be thinner. I would rather have the iPhone 4/4s thickness in my iPhone 5s and get an improved battery.
I agree that I wish they would focus on battery life more than thickness but I am quite happy with how thin the current iPhone is.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:13 PM   #8
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Small note: shouldn't use DDR4 and LPDDR4 interchangeably. They are different standards.

edit: I see it has been fixed. Carry on.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:18 PM   #9
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Current battery is great, it's just too small!

The current battery is pretty great from what they've talked about in terms of technologies (in the past, not this article).

If you're got a flashlight and it runs on AAA batteries and you're always running out of power, what do you do? You get a flashlight that user bigger batteries (or you carry spares).

If Apple was willing to put in larger batteries, the phone would last longer. THE END.

Of course it would have to be thicker and heavier...

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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by garylapointe View Post
The current battery is pretty great from what they've talked about in terms of technologies (in the past, not this article).

If you're got a flashlight and it runs on AAA batteries and you're always running out of power, what do you do? You get a flashlight that user bigger batteries (or you carry spares).

If Apple was willing to put in larger batteries, the phone would last longer. THE END.

Of course it would have to be thicker and heavier...

Gary
iPhone battery size has increased with nearly every iteration of the phone. If they do indeed got a 4.7" or larger device, you can bet that the battery will see a significant jump.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:23 PM   #11
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This is great!! I hate when people complain that apple focuses more on looks than battery life, they've clearly demonstrated many times that battery life is a major concern for them.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:29 PM   #12
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Does anyone really know how this will translate though? When I think of battery performance, RAM optimization really doesn't come into the equation.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SJism23 View Post
No one's complained about 1 GB of RAM in the current iDevices yet? I'm surprised.
Shame there's still only a gig of ram in the iDevices.

Happy?
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:33 PM   #14
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I see how this could end up in the iPhone, but isn't it unlikely to show up in notebooks until Intel supports it? Skylake right?
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:35 PM   #15
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Yes, but 1 GB..
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:38 PM   #16
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so a bigger iphone with ddr4 will have a nice battery
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:38 PM   #17
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Does anyone really know how this will translate though? When I think of battery performance, RAM optimization really doesn't come into the equation.
Yes, it's a small part of the equation. Using the equation P = fCV, say you run at 2 GHz, each cell is about 10 pF capacitance (times 64 for a 64 bit interface), at 1.1V, you're around 1.32 W (that's a toggle on every data bit every cycle). This doesn't take into account static RAM power dissipation, but it's also worst case since data bit toggle rates won't be at 1 (ratio cycles the data bit toggles to total clock periods).

However, the key trade is faster RAM for a given power dissipation (or the same speed RAM for less power dissipation). Intense GPU demand also has intense RAM demands.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:42 PM   #18
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Yes, it's a small part of the equation. Using the equation P = fCV, say you run at 2 GHz, each cell is about 10 pF capacitance (times 64 for a 64 bit interface), at 1.1V, you're around 1.32 W (that's a toggle on every data bit every cycle). This doesn't take into account static RAM power dissipation, but it's also worst case since data bit toggle rates won't be at 1 (ratio cycles the data bit toggles to total clock periods).

However, the key trade is faster RAM for a given power dissipation (or the same speed RAM for less power dissipation). Intense GPU demand also has intense RAM demands.
This sounds intelligent and since I have absolutely no way of DISPROVING any of this with my current brain, I'll just have to nod with a blank stare and pretend I understood.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:44 PM   #19
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Nice. Looking forward to upgrading my iPad 3 to a speedy iPad Air 2.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:46 PM   #20
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This sounds intelligent and since I have absolutely no way of DISPROVING any of this with my current brain, I'll just have to nod with a blank stare and pretend I understood.
To put it simply, dynamic power consumption (power you use by operating as opposed to just sitting idle) is a function of how often you transfer data, how hard it is to drive the cells needed for that transfer and how much potential you need to complete that operation in the given time. It's roughly analogous to a car by saying I want to drive this fast, my car has this much drag, and my engine is this big.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:49 PM   #21
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iPhone battery size has increased with nearly every iteration of the phone. If they do indeed got a 4.7" or larger device, you can bet that the battery will see a significant jump.
They'll have more surface area to spread the battery over, so overall thickness might not have an issue. My fear: more efficient batteries and more efficient electronics with more surface area means they could make it thinner; I don't want thinner to effect the internet camera lens setup... (affect?)

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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by garylapointe View Post
They'll have more surface area to spread the battery over, so overall thickness might not have an issue. My fear: more efficient batteries and more efficient electronics with more surface area means they could make it thinner; I don't want thinner to effect the internet camera lens setup... (affect?)

Gary
Purely guessing, I doubt they will make it much thinner. As you point out, they're going to start limiting things like the optics they can use for the camera.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 12:53 PM   #23
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For technology in general. Battery advancements have lagged big time compared to other components.
That's primarily because the limiting factor of battery is currently chemistry, where other parts are limited only by manufacturing processes, better tooling yields improvements in CPU, memory, GPU, even display, but batteries don't benefit from small er transistors.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 01:06 PM   #24
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That's primarily because the limiting factor of battery is currently chemistry, where other parts are limited only by manufacturing processes, better tooling yields improvements in CPU, memory, GPU, even display, but batteries don't benefit from small er transistors.
Yeah, you can only have so much energy density before it becomes dangerous in today's batteries. It's better to make the energy transfer more efficient - one of the reasons a lot of smartphone batteries went through a chemistry change, which we saw in the 3.7V to 3.8V rating transition on the batteries.
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Old Apr 3, 2014, 01:07 PM   #25
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If the screen is bigger, I WILL use it more!

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Purely guessing, I doubt they will make it much thinner. As you point out, they're going to start limiting things like the optics they can use for the camera.
I'd be happier with thicker and much longer battery life.

If the screen gets bigger, I think I'll use it more and probably pull my iPad out a tiny bit less (not a lot, just a little bit).

When I'm out and about reading mail on my phone is convenient, but not a preferred method, at home I reach for the iPad or sit a the computer. For eBooks, iPhone is my very last choice after iPad and Kindle (I have the book synced to the same page on all 3 devices); if the screen were a bit bigger I'd think less when I get out of the car "Will I want my Kindle for reading?"

Gary
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