Apple may be planning a new “Fan Out” packaging technology for some components for its next-generation iPhone 7 to maximize the amount of space in the device, according to a Korean report. The use of this technology could help make the iPhone 7 thinner and lighter.
Squeezing spaces in iPhone 7
ETNews suggested that the iPhone maker plans to apply the technology specifically to the device’s antenna switching module and RF (radio frequency) chip. It is believed that the usage of fan-out tech will increase the density of I/O terminals within a package, thus making it possible to use smaller chip sizes.
“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,” says ETNews.
Apple is believed to be planning to shrink the chassis of the iPhone 7 and that this is a high priority for it. Apart from minimizing radio components, the company might also consider increasing its use of single-chip EMI (electromagnetic interference) shielding, allowing components to sit more closely together.
Chances are that the company will also do away with the 3.5mm headphone jack to make the device thinner and lighter and add a second speaker port. If that happens, then users will be required to buy Bluetooth or Lightning accessories for external audio.
A cost-effective technology
Fan-Out Packaging technology has drawn a lot of attention from the industry recently because manufacturers do not want to increase the size of a chip just for I/O terminals. If we look at this technology from a production cost perspective, it is the most cost-effective since it allows manufacturers to decrease the size of a chip even when the number of I/O terminals increases.
It will be possible for Apple to minimize signal loss even while fitting more components into a single package. Usage of the packaging method will also enable the company to cut down on the potential for interference in wireless communication and single-chip EMI shields.
Apple is expected to ship the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sometime this fall, probably in September as usual. A dual-lens camera and a more uniform back could feature in both models, but there won’t be any camera bump or visible antenna bands, says Apple Insider.