Schematics Allegedly Reveal M7 Successor Chip 'Phosphorus'

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple is unsurprisingly working on a new version of the M7 co-processor for the upcoming iPhone 6, claims GeekBar (Via G 4 Games) in a post on Weibo. In this latest report, a new set of schematics allegedly showcase this new co-processor chip, which is internally labeled "Phosphorus."

    GeekBar claims "Phosphorus" will be the successor to the M7, collecting motion data as well as processing other health-related information handled by Apple's new HealthKit API. This chip potentially is the power behind Apple's new Health app for iOS 8, which will import data from the iPhone and other third-party devices in order to create an overview of the user's health.

    Apple introduced its new Health tracking app and its HealthKit API at WWDC in June. Besides encouraging developers to build health and fitness-related functionality into its device, Apple also may be talking to hospitals, health institutions and insurance companies in order to expand its HealthKit initiative beyond the user's device. In one scenario, data from the Health app could be shared with a health insurance companies in order to lower a healthy subscriber's monthly premium.

    Update 9:29 AM: The "Phosphorus" component actually appears to be a barometric pressure sensor, not a next-generation M7 chip.

    Article Link: Schematics Allegedly Reveal M7 Successor Chip 'Phosphorus'
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That makes sense, looking to increase the functionality of the M7 and include more biometric info
  3. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2014
    Porto, Portugal

    I imagine that in the future they could make a much useful device just with that processor. It would easily last days, too.
  4. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    Working? On the processor for a phone currently being manufactured? Don't you think the work on the successor to a component to the iPhone 6 was done a long time ago?
  5. tliede20 macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not to mention

    They also have to somehow beef or add a processor to enable the "hey siri" feature without the need of being plugged in. I mean if they keep it that way it'd be stupid to introduce that feature. I think they introduced it because it will be a key feature for iPhone 6 / iWatch... but the phones before can't do it without losing MASS battery because how it sucks off the processors.
  6. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Very curious as to how this will work without an iWatch or device that is constantly tethered to your body.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    Maybe the coprocessor can do it all, like the Moto X?
  8. FatMax macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2007
    Hey Siri is probably intended for CarPlay in the beginning..
  9. japanime macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2006

    Maybe the "killer feature" of the iPhone 6 will be that it glows in the dark — even when the screen is turned off! :D
  10. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Given how they just replaced the screen (According to rumor), why shouldn't they also change this?

    In any way, this is really nitpicking about details..
  11. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    How far can Apple go in the health space without requiring FDA approval?
  12. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    This sounds like a terrible idea to me, if not downright scary in its implications.
  13. cocky jeremy macrumors 601

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    With their wallet, about as far as they want.


    Only if it were forced.
  14. luckydcxx macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    that's a great question, i would assume as long as they don't claim that their product can heal or cure you of a disease they wouldn't really ever need approval.
  15. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Meaning what? Healthcare industry is highly regulated. I'm skeptical how much Apple will be able to do in this space without being up to their eyeballs in regulations and FDA approvals. Which means rollout of some grand health initiative could take a long time.
  16. Mtmspa macrumors 6502a

    May 13, 2013
    You can read the several pages of posts on this topic since this was brought up last week. No need for this debate again here.
  17. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    Not only. Would it be right for someone to have access to a lower premium just because they own an expensive phone?
  18. leecbaker, Aug 25, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

    leecbaker macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2012
    New Zealand
    This chip is a pressure sensor

    So here's what's in the schematic in the article:

    TLDR: This is a barometric pressure sensor, and most definitely not a processor of any type. I think it's safe to assume that we can expect a pressure sensor in the next iPhone- many other phones have found uses for them.
    The first thing that threw me off- if this was the M7 or some kind of other 'processor', it would tend to communicate with sensors in a master-slave fashion over a serial protocol like SPI or I2C. It would also need some kind of data link back to the A7 (or A8 or whatever), most likely another serial line. That's not present in this diagram.

    The stuff on this schematic is labelled like SPI, or a similar protocol. The line coming in from the top left is labeled MOSI- this stands for master out, slave in- it's a serial data line (going one way). It's connected to the SDI pin of the chip (serial data in), meaning that this chip must be a slave to the master SPI controller, and not the M7 or successor.

    It is common to have multiple 'slave' chips hooked up to the same master (sharing data lines, one MISO and one MOSI). The master selects which chip it wants to talk to with a CS line (chip select). This is the line at the bottom left, the only one with 'PHOSPHORUS' in the net name. Since that CS line would be selecting PHOSPHORUS, and PHOSPHORUS is a slave, that tells me that PHOSPHORUS must be whatever this chip, probably a sensor (see more below!).

    OSCAR was the code name of the M7, and the serial lines are labelled such that they go from sensors (e.g. the IMU) to the M7. I'm not making much of the fact that the serial lines going to this chip have labels saying they go from OSCAR (the M7) to the IMU, but are actually connected to this chip- I think they are probably just shared serial lines.

    The chip pictured has the part number BMP282. I'm 99.99% sure this is a Bosch barometric pressure sensor, similar to this part BMP280 . Variants of one part often have slightly different part numbers- if Apple got Bosch to customize the chip for them with different packaging, or a slightly different measurement range, that would explain the difference in part number.

    Here's what Bosch says the BMP280 chip is commonly used for:
    * Enhancement of GPS navigation (e.g. time-tofirst-fix improvement, dead-reckoning, slope detection)
    * Indoor navigation (floor detection, elevator detection)
    * Outdoor navigation, leisure and sports applications
    * Weather forecast
    * Health care applications (e.g. spirometry)
    * Vertical velocity indication (e.g. rise/sink speed)

    Spirometry is measuring breath/lung function.
  19. gnasher729, Aug 25, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

    gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    There is a rather similar situation in the UK: If you are a teenager and want to drive a car, you will find that the insurance cost is astronomical (to some degree justified, because 18 year olds seem to have 10 times higher accident rates than some other groups). You can significantly decrease your insurance cost by installing a box that will send information about speed, hard braking, time when you are driving etc. to the insurance company.

    Let's say you have diabetes. No big deal if it's not too bad, you eat healthily and take your tablets regularly. So someone with well-controlled diabetes isn't expensive. Someone with diabetes who doesn't give a ****, drinks six cans of beer every day, that person will be expensive. If I could get an app that observes my health, makes me do the right things, decreases the cost for the health insurance company, and at the same time decreases the cost _for me_ while improving my health, there's nothing wrong with that.

    Not just because they own an expensive phone. Because they own a device, no matter what the cost, that observes and helps improving their state of health. But then you can improve insurance premiums by adding anti-theft measures to your car, or by installing an alarm system in your house. Do you disagree with that as well?
  20. Jack Delgado macrumors regular

    Jack Delgado

    May 11, 2012
    Oh my. Let's keep this G-rated.
  21. cmaier macrumors G5

    Jul 25, 2007
    They will add stair climbing tracking and voice analysis (to detect "hey Siri" when the phone isn't plugged into power).

    You heard it here first.
  22. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    That's the "half full" view. Now look at it the other way: If "I" could get an app that observes my health relative to many others using the same app, makes me do the right things but I can't do them as well as all others, decreases the cost of the health insurance company by them being able to use relative data like that to weed out those customers likely to be less profitable, and at the same time, decreasing or maybe increasing the cost for me (relative to everyone else) while improving my health, there's nothing-to-much wrong with that.

    In your view of it, there is an assumption that this could drive down health insurance costs for everyone. However, why would the insurance companies want to make less money? If you put yourself in their shoes, it seems the better use of stuff like this would be to weed out those customers that are more likely to cost them money while retaining those likely to cost them less. Sometimes the group into which we would fall is controllable by us based upon diet, exercise, etc. However, sometimes health issues pop up that have nothing to do with such choices.

    So, if such a thing could genuinely lower health costs for all of us- AND KEEP THEM DOWN- I'm right there with you. But I don't see the health insurance industry happy at the idea of driving their sales down. One might counter with "but this could drive their profits up"- which is true- but eventually cost cutting to grow profits runs dry and revenue growth is required.
  23. Design787 macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2013
    What is the thinking behind "Phosphorus?"

    The definition of Phosphorus is "Phosphorus is a nonmetallic chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent pnictogen, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. It is poisonous."

    What are they thinking behind the code name for this?
  24. HobeSoundDarryl, Aug 25, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    It's just a name. Look up the definition of Apple, Ivy Bridge, Lizard Head Pass, Fat Man & Little Boy, or consider these: and or a rich list of Apple code names: where they called a monitor Mai Tai one of their early Apple computers E.T., another Spock, and another Carl Sagan (which got them sued), Tesseract, Moses, etc.

    And if you are worried about destruction and Tesseract doesn't do it for you (that was shortened to TNT by the way), Apple has used code names like Typhoon, Tsunami, Omega, Terminator, M80, Darth Vader, Dragon, and Diet Coke too
  25. MacSince1990 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2009
    I was honestly not ever all that clear on what the M-chip did. Doesn't it stand for "Motion Processor" or something?

    Unless it's like, *really* specialized or something (such that it can do in many fewer cycles and at a much lower power consumption what the CPU can't do in certain important tasks) I don't really get why it's needed. Tbh I was kind of puzzled when they introduced it.

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