Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Get Broadcom BCM4334 Chip With Wi-Fi Direct For AirDrop

We’ve some more information about the next generation iPhone (iPhone5,1), courtesy folks at 9to5Mac who have been digging through the beta version of iOS 6 running on a prototype of the next iPhone.

9to5Mac reports that Apple could use Broadcom BCM4334 single-chip dual-band combo chip in the next generation iPhone, which is a follow up to BCM4330 which is used in the new iPad and iPhone 4S.

According to AnandTech, this new chip will need half the power for Wi-Fi :

BCM4334 which is the follow-up part to BCM4330 that we’ve seen in a bunch of devices. BCM4334 changes from a 65nm process to 40nm LP, which itself offers a power profile reduction. The change isn’t a simple die shrink either, Broadcom says it has worked on and refined the existing BCM4330 design and reduced power a further 40-50% and dramatically reduced standby power by 3 orders of magnitude. I asked Broadcom to give me a realistic estimate of power consumption – BCM4330 in full Rx mode consumes around 68mA, BCM4334 consumes 36mA at the same voltage, just to give an example of the reduction. Air interfaces don’t change between BCM4330 and BCM4334.

As 9to5Mac points out, the power savings would be helpful to offset the increase in power consumption due to the taller 4-inch display and 4G LTE radios.

In addition to the power savings, the new Broadcom chip also has dual band Wi-Fi which allows content streaming via technologies such as Wi-Fi Display and Wi-Fi Direct. 9to5Mac speculates that while Apple is unlikely to use Wi-Fi Display over its own AirPlay protocol, Apple could use Wi-Fi Direct to bring OS X Lion’s adhoc file sharing protocol to iOS 6.

It certainly gives Apple a reason to bump the Wifi chip up to this more expensive dual mode version that was just announced in late February. Wifi Direct is also used in more and more printers as well, but its main purpose is making wireless file sharing extremely easy, as Google does in its Galaxy Nexus devices.

With Apple’s easy-to-understand interface, an iOS AirDrop feature could make sharing between Macs and iOS devices and between iOS devices (or dare we say to Android devices?) beyond simple.

Apple had introduced AirDrop feature in OS X Lion last year. The feature provides a really easy way to share files between supported, Wi-Fi enabled Macs, without having to connect through the local Wi-Fi network.

But this is still quite speculative as we’ve seen that Apple has chosen not to use the full capabilities of Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chip.

9to5Mac had previously reported that the next generation iPhone, which is widely expected to be released in October will be powered by a variant of the A5 chip like the new iPad and include 1GB RAM.