Next Gen iPhone: Asahi Kasei Confirmed for Digital Compass

Apple Insider lets us know who's been tapped to provide the magnetometer (digital compass) for the new iPhone hardware expected to hit at WWDC 2009:

People familiar with betas of the iPhone 3.0 software developers kit recently dug up several header files attributed to the Japanese manufacturer in a directory appropriately labeled "compass." More specifically, the files identify Asahi Kasei's azimuth sensor No. AK8973, a 16-pin leadless IC package measuring 4mm square and 0.7mm thick, as the chip that will help future iPhone users determine their direction. It bundles a master clock oscillator.

As already evident in the Android G1, a digital compass allows for a better Google Street View experience, but can also make things like turn-by-turn navigation and other orientation-based functions smoother and more precise.

Apple Insider also states that this is but one of three new, confirmed hardware features, the others being a better, video-capable camera and a faster, 802.11n Wi-Fi chip.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.