As noted by 9to5Mac's Jordan Kahn, this is likely the chip Apple will use to power wireless functions in the iPhone 6. Apple has traditionally used Broadcom chips in its entire range of Wi-Fi-capable devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac lines, and this latest chip brings a number of upgrades that will significantly improve user experience.
For one thing, the chip will bring multiple-input and multiple-output, or "MIMO," technology to the iPhone. Basically, it lets Apple use several antennas for both sending and receiving data and even choose between them to get a better signal. Last fall's iPad Air was the first iOS device with MIMO technology, and anyone who's used that device can attest to its rock-solid Wi-Fi reception.
The iPad Air Broadcom chip was missing one important feature, however: support for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. Introduced in last year's MacBook Air update, the new standard brings the speed of Gigabit Ethernet to wireless networking.
Broadcom claims that the new chip will double performance for video and music downloads, improve upload speeds at big public events like concerts, increase Wi-Fi range, and improve battery life.
While better battery life is always welcome, Wi-Fi performance is going to be an increasingly important factor to consider going forward. As we reported a few weeks back, Cisco's latest study on mobile data trends predicts that by 2018, we'll be accessing more data on our mobile devices through Wi-Fi than we do from our actual cell phone carriers.
And while it's a long shot, the new chip could also bring one other huge feature to the iPhone 6: wireless charging. According to Broadcom's press release, there's a version of the BCM4354 that supports the Alliance for Wireless Power's "Rezence" wireless charging standard.