Micron’s improved DRAM chips are expected to improve battery life as well as performance in next generation iOS devices and Macs.
In its 2013 models, Apple used LPDDR3 DRAM from Elpida, a company that Micron Technology acquired in June last year for $2 billion. Apple’s partnership with Elpida reportedly began back in 2012. It has already been working with Micron for quite some time, so its plausible that DRAM chips for next generation productions might be provided by the very same company.
Micron is said to be ramping up production of its LPDDR4 DRAM. During the company’s Q1 2014 conference call it disclosed that a payment of $250 million had been received from an unnamed customer, the payment is meant for “product to be supplied through September 2016.” Independent analyst Matt Margolis believes that Apple is the unnamed customer. It may have paid $250 million as part of a multi-year deal for DRAM chips. Margolis says that this is little doubt that Apple is going to use Micron’s LPDDR4 DRAM in its 2014 lineup, which consists of new iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. Most of these products are expected to be released in the second half of 2014.
Reynette Au, Vice President of Wireless Solutions Marketing at Micron claims in an article at Wirelessweek that the company’s improved LPDDR4 DRAM technology offers double the bandwidth performance of the previous generation LPDDR3, while reducing power consumption which directly translates into improved battery life. An estimated 10 hours of active tablet time on 1.5 Ah battery and 8 hours on smartphones with 1.4 Ah battery are touted. Moreover, keeping the pin count low helps to reduce LPDDR4 cost as well as reduce the overall system complexity. CA bus is reduced to 6 pins in LPDDR4 from 10 pins in LPDDR3.
It likely that these advancements in memory technology will complement Apple’s A-series 64-bit processor. 2014 iOS devices are expected to come with Apple’s new A8 processor, mass production of at least the new iPhones is expected to begin over the summer.