Schematics Allegedly Reveal M7 Successor Chip 'Phosphorus'

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."

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.

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Top Rated Comments

leecbaker Avatar
128 months ago
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 (http://www.bosch-sensortec.com/de/homepage/products_3/environmental_sensors_1/bmp280/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.

EDIT:
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.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rosalindavenue Avatar
128 months ago
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?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
128 months ago
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?

It's simple really.. the chip will create Phosphine gas to kill off Android users once and for all.

Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cougarcat Avatar
128 months ago
[. 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.


This sounds like a terrible idea to me, if not downright scary in its implications.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
128 months ago
Phosphorus?

Maybe the "killer feature" of the iPhone 6 will be that it glows in the dark — even when the screen is turned off! :D
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
128 months ago
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.

I was looking up chips when I saw your post. I think you're most likely correct. Excellent analysis!

OSCAR was the code name of the M7, and the serial lines...

That was the first clue to me, too. The lines even say Oscar to Phosphorus, so it's obviously not a replacement for the M7, but a peripheral for it.

The SPI bus is marked as IMU (inertial measurement unit .... accelerometers, etc), so it's sharing that bus with them, although it has its own chip select, as you also said.

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

Yep, that chip's pins also match the schematic:



TL;DR: barometric pressure sensor... leecbaker for the win!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)