That's odd: Apple is using two accelerometers with the new iPhones

That's odd: Apple is using two accelerometers with the new iPhones
When it comes to the iPhone, you can pretty much count on the various enthusiast and professional publications to perform just about every test imaginable on it. Last week, for example, Chipworks went ahead and disassembled the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in order to inspect exactly what they ware made of in terms of hardware, and stumbled upon something pretty odd: the new iPhones had not one, but two separate accelerometer devices on-board. One by InvenSense (MPU-6700), and another, by Bosch (BMA280).

The accelerometer in your phone is the device that allows you to change the orientation of the UI or steer left and right in Asphalt 8. It's an integral part of what makes a phone smart, but not really a very intriguing topic on its own. Apple's inclusion of two of those, however, is. 

After digging further, the folks behind Chipworks concluded that Cupertino likely had battery savings on their mind with the implementation: the Bosch sensor is a 3-axis accelerometer and draws less power than the 6-axis InvenSense accelerometer. That latter one is far more precise, but generally draws far more power, and so it's only turned on when sensitivity is of importance -- like when you're gaming. If you're simply looking to change the interface orientation from portrait to landscape, however, the Bosch chip is the one that the new iPhones are likely making use of, not least because it also has a lower start-up time.

In all, while this likely helps the new iPhones conserve some energy, our battery benchmark indicates that you can only optimize a battery so much -- after a certain point, you just need more capacity.

source: Chipworks

Related phones

iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)



1. Max_Boost

Posts: 101; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

My S5's battery life STILL trumps over those new iPwned. Hahaha

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Jony's obsession with thin-ness is a bit over-the-top. The compromises that must be made to make the thin iToy work compared to their competition just don't produce a compelling value proposition for other than the die-hard fan base. Magic 8-Ball says this generation (the current release plus the S editions next year) is the thinnest that Apple goes with their phones.

4. rbasky61

Posts: 34; Member since: Jan 21, 2012

Better not explained the purpose of these 2 accelerometers, for sure competitors will few months others are using this setup on the new smartphones.. believe me...

7. tedkord

Posts: 17482; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Probably not, since most competitors flagships are already well ahead of the in battery life.

13. Iodine

Posts: 1505; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Or better said, they dont want to work on efficiency that much, they will just stick in a bigger battery instead. That's not a good strategy (see Tegar K1). And making a single bad result doesnt mean others are "well ahed in battery life" at all.

8. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

with what sony's been doing with their phones' battery life no thanks :v they dont need to pump up the prices anymore

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5761; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The Z3C is very impressive Its got a bigger screen, lighter and same dimensions except thinner And still has a bigger battery and far better battery life

19. sachouba

Posts: 267; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Actually, the Galaxy S5, the S4 and the Nexus 5 already have 2 accelerometers, brainwashed fanboy. You should read the article about that on Wikipedia ("pedometer").

5. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I think they're over-complicating the issue. One accelerometer worked just fine...

6. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Its like their 2 3g raidos instead of real 4G xD.

10. JMartin22

Posts: 2391; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

They like to try to be different for the sake of it. The application doesn't really work in real life and it's reflected in the day to day battery life results.

11. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

How accurate of an accelerometer would one need? Asphalt 8 would probably do fine with a 3 axis accelerometer. iFancy much.

15. phone_user

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 07, 2013

maybe its used for the OIS?

12. Tritinum

Posts: 471; Member since: May 06, 2014

ok so ... :/

16. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I am curious how iOS knows which one to trigger. Does it trigger automatically when a game is started, is it an API a dev can call? I can imagine not all games need the sensitive one if it's just to rotate the screen.

17. wsrobert

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

Interestingly enough, I'm experiencing numerous issues with my 6+ as it relates to the accelerometers I believe. If I have the phone in my pocket, upside down, and remove from my pocket and unlock, everything will be rotated a complete 180 degrees. And simply will not revert back until I lock and leave it sit right side up for a few minutes. Oddly, if I launch an app, it appears right side up. But hitting the home button takes me back to the upside down lock screen. Just one example... That and the scaling issues within all but the core Apple apps is driving me a bit nuts.

20. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Must be a defected device! Try to compare with another one and see. Don't wanna say you hold it wrong pal cause there's nothing wrong with their iP lol

18. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Setup is probably for highly sensitive digital image stabilisation. Though it's not the best DIS I've seen.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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