Here comes Phosphorus, the iPhone 6’s top-secret chip


The iPhone 5s’s M7 motion co-processor at work.

With the iPhone 5s, Apple debuted its first non-A-series chip within an iOS device. Called the M7, it was a motion co-processor that tracked your movements while drawing minimal power, making the iPhone 5s the first smartphone that could passively do what an activity band like the FitBit can do: track all your steps during the day.

We haven’t heard much about whether or not we can expect an update to the M7 in the iPhone 6, but according to the latest leak, we can. An Apple chip internally code-named Phosphorus is now believed to replace the M7 in the iPhone 6./

The latest schematic leak from Chinese Apple repair firm GeekBar shows doesn’t give much detail on what we can expect from Phosphorus.

That said, iOS 8 puts a lot of emphasis on health, thanks to the new Health app and Apple’s HealthKit platform. It makes sense that Phosphorus would be an update over the M7 that would more closely integrate with iOS 8, and perhaps even add new motion tracking features to the device.

Will Phosphorus be the name for the chip that Apple uses when the iPhone 6 ships? I doubt it: the M7 motion co-processor was clearly designated as such so it could pair elegantly with the A7 chip that shipped in the iPhone 5s. If the iPhone 6 comes with an A8 processor, expect Phosphorus to be called the M8, for sure.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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