If you ask current iPhone owners for a list of features they’d like to see Apple incorporate into the iPhone 7, a thinner and lighter form factor would likely appear somewhere near the bottom, if at all. Indeed, most respondents would likely ask for improved battery life, or more storage, or even a better camera. But because Jony Ive is reportedly obsessed with increasingly thinner devices, the iPhone 7 by all accounts will shave a few millimeters off of what is already an incredibly thin iPhone 6s.
Now if we put aside well-placed grievances regarding Apple’s obsession with thinness over other utilitarian considerations, it’s rather impressive that Apple can continue to make successive iPhone models thinner while concurrently making them faster and equipping them with more advanced camera modules. And all the while, battery life practically remains the same.
With the iPhone 7, Apple will take thinness to entirely new levels, and a new report from ETNews details how Apple will manage to do just that.
The report relays that Apple with the iPhone 7 will take advantage of a new Fan Out Packaging technology for the device’s antenna switching module (ASM).
Fan Out technology is a technology that increases number of I/O (Input/Output) terminals within a package by pulling out wiring of I/O terminals to outside from a semiconductor chip (Die), which is a previous step before packaging. As area of a chip had become narrower as manufacturing processes had become finer, it was difficult to increase number of I/O terminals. Because industries do not want to increase size of a chip just for I/O terminals, they have been paying attention to Fan Out Packaging technology recently. It is most cost effective from production cost perspective if number of I/O terminals increases within a package while still decreasing size of a chip.
The report adds that the iPhone 7 will be the first smartphone to take advantage of Fan Out Packaging technology but that other smartphone manufacturers will inevitably follow suit.
Additionally, ETNews notes that the RF chip built into the ASM will be composed of two chips built onto one package as opposed to two chips on a printed circuit board. “This decreases areas where parts are mounted,” the report explains.
As a final point, the report claims that the iPhone 7 will see increased battery capacity, but further details regarding what battery life might be were not discussed.