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New iPhone to get real digital compass?

Recent iPhone developer discovery suggests that the next iPhone hardware release will include a real digital compass.

As we get closer to WWDC in June, iPhone rumors continue to pop up. (We've reported on some here, here, and here. The latest reports that the iPhone will have a digital compass that will report, for instance, the direction you are facing when taking a picture or directions from the Mobile Map app as you walk or drive.

Wikipedia

According to, AppleInsider, Asahi Kasei may be the supplier of the magnetometer used in a new iPhone. The discovery of this was made by some developers recently examining header files from the iPhone 3.0 software developers' kit. AppleInsider has more to say about the discovery:

...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.

Asahi Kasei

While there has been previous speculation that the iPhone would have a compass, the mention in Apple's own SDK moves this rumor solidly into the "probably true" column.