A while back we speculated that Apple would use Qualcomm's 28nm MDM9615 basband for future iDevices with 4G LTE. The part made logical sense at the time, in part because of its 28nm process and compatibility with all the relevant air interfaces. Now that the restore .ipsw images have been posted and are available for download, I took a peek inside and did a little bit of forensics. 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.

You can see in the gallery above (or examine yourself by extracting and using your favorite hex editor) that there are numerous 9x00 and 9600 references in the build path throughout all the relevant .mbn files. As a reminder, AMSS.mbn corresponds to Qualcomm's Advanced Mobile Subscriber Software, which is exactly where you'd expect to see such references. The baseband given is MDM9x00 to be specific, though again MDM9200 and MDM9600 differ only in whether CDMA2000 1x/EVDO is enabled. I wager we'll see the AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and the international model using the same baseband but ship with different modules with different sets of power amplifiers.

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  • solipsism - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    With the WiFi battery life only 1 hour more than the 4G battery life I assumed that it had to be the 9615 to get that 3rd gen LTE efficiency.
  • Paulman - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    Brian just wrote that it is in fact Qualcomm's MDM9600, though, not the MDM9615, and he says it's a 45nm part. I'm guessing the increased battery size of a tablet means that using a 45nm LTE modem is still ok?
  • dcollins - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    Hence his title and the use of the past tense.
  • dagamer34 - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    I think the larger battery is more of an indication that the screen and A5X SoC are having a larger impact on battery life compared to LTE, seeing how they almost doubled the size of the battery even in WiFi models, but the rated time remained the same.

    Also, because it's possible to more aggressively power down the 4G chipset on a tablet than a phone, battery life isn't impacted as much as you might think.
  • PeteH - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    I wonder if the SoC really has that much impact on battery life compared to the display (at least under the "normal use" scenario, graphically intensive gaming might be different). Just think how much brighter the backlight must be due to the increased pixel density.
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    WiFi can be disabled when running on 4G so that would help with the battery life. It's also good to keep in mind that these are advertising numbers, real world results may vary.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    Keep in mind that their battery is indeed gigantic (42.5 Whr for the 3rd gen versus 25 Whr for the 2nd gen). Arguably that's more telling about the challenges of getting the same light transmittance through so much more gating, ITO, etc.

  • iwod - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    They keep saying 3G "World Mode" , unless the world does not include China, China Mobile uses TDS-CDMA.
  • solipsism - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    But China Mobile, albiet China's largest carrier, isn't the only carrier in China so it's still accurate. They aren't saying it's an "All cellular connectivity chip" just that it can be used all over the world, which should not be mistaken with used in every part of the world.

    Plus, China Mobile uses standard GSM so it will connect to their 2G network. I don't recall anyone but you suggesting that world more only refers to 3G and is defined by connecting to all carriers. It doesn't even T-Mobile's AWS.
  • reuthermonkey1 - Thursday, March 8, 2012 - link

    Support for AWS 42mbps DC-HSPA+. The only network in North America with a 42mbps HSPA+ network is T-Mobile.

    Yet, guess what.

    Still no T-Mobile AWS HSPA+ support on any apple products.

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