Posts tagged ‘iPhone 5’

iPhone 5 expands LTE support but European/US roaming headaches remain

As the dust finally settles post iPhone, the tech blogs and comments sections the internet over are overflowing as Apple vs Android owners get embroiled in largely pointless arguments over the various merits of their preferred platform. As far as my own predictions based on rumours go, the only significant things I got wrong were the name (iPhone 5, not the new iPhone-phew) – and the lack of 800MHz LTE support, which I’ll get onto shortly. (It all mounted to a rather anti-climatic reveal, which made me long for the days when Apple announcement leaks were rare).

As far as we’re concerned though the major news of course was that, as was entirely expected, the iPhone 5 now offers LTE support. Crucially, for European and Asian operators and their customers, the iPhone 5 now supports their networks too, thus avoiding the disappointment that many faced when they realised that the iPad 3, which was touted as 4G capable, in fact only operated on US, Canadian and Japanese LTE networks.

This time, Apple has laid out the exact specs of what countries that will get LTE support, but there are still a couple of major LTE limitations that some may not realise.

The Verizon iPhone 5 can roam between the the US and Europe on LTE- but the other two iPhone variants can’t

There are three SKU’s of iPhone 5 with different LTE chips– (the A1428) a GSM model supporting AT&T in the US and Canadian networks, and the A1429 CDMA model for Verizon, Sprint and KDDI in Japan and the A1429 GSM model for the rest of the world.

This means that if you buy an iPhone 5 in Europe, you won’t be able to roam in the US on LTE, at all. However, the CDMA A1429 supports 1800MHz, so if you buy that one in the US, you should then be able to use in on 1800MHz LTE networks in the UK such as EE.

Secondly, there is no support for 800MHZ and 2.6GHz frequencies at all, which many operators, such as O2 and Vodafone in the UK, will be using for LTE once the auctions are complete and they get their networks up and running. Therefore their customers are going to have to wait for the iPhone 6 to get LTE support.

This is a double whammy blow for O2 and Vodafone in the UK, as on top of losing customers defecting to EE to get LTE now, they also have to contend with the fact that some customer’s may not be willing to commit to a two-year contract on the iPhone 5.

The LTE chip inside the iPhone 5 is Qualcomm’s MDM9615M. It’s a very impressive chip, built on a 28nm manufacturing process which makes for low power consumption yet still supports LTE in both FDD and TDD flavours and 3G in DC-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA guise – the latter making it well suited for China.

However, the multiple frequencies required for LTE clearly make it impractical to offer a single chip version and maintain performance and power. It looks as though we’ll have to wait at least a year for Europe/Asia and US support in a single device, Apple or otherwise, while the ‘world-phone’ status that the iPhone 4S offered to become a reality in a highly fragmented LTE world.

LTE roaming is one of the many topics on the agenda at the LTE Asia conference, coming up NEXT WEEK at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. If you’re interesting in attending, there’s still time to register here.

The iPhone 5: when it’s coming and what to expect

As a known gadget enthusiast, quite a few people have been asking me about the new iPhone – namely when’s it coming out and what new features will it offer.


Is this the new iPhone? We’ll find out on Wednesday.

If you somehow have managed to avoid the millions of articles stating these things – possibly because you have a life, here a quick guide to what to what to expect.

Apple has been known for keeping information regarding its new announcements very secret and certainly no official information has been released, but in terms of spy shots this time round it’s been leakier than a leaky sieve full of holes on a rainy day. As such we’ve pretty much seen it all. So sifting through the rumour mill so you don’t have to, here’s what I think we’ll see.

When: Announced September 12th. Release date: Likely to be three weeks afterwards. Early October likely.
Name: The new iPhone – Apple is expected to maintain consistency with the last iPad – ditching the number afterwards. Anyway calling it the iPhone 5 would be inaccurate as it will actually be the sixth one.
What’s new: Larger, thinner, faster.
Display size:in – up from 3.5in on the 4S. Apple has to do something to keep up with the plethora of large-screened Android devices. The resolution is rumoured to be 1136 x 640, enabling it to keep its ‘Retina’ status and enable developers to easily scale apps.
Appearance: A new two-tone back reminiscent of the original iPhone.
Size: Taller to accommodate the new screen, but reportedly thinner at 7.6mm.
Connectors: The standard iPhone 30-pin connector is rumoured to be ditched to make way for an all new smaller connector, enabling Apple to make the most of the limited space inside. The eco-system of accessories will be supported via an adaptor. Apple is not expected to move to the industry standard micro USB as it wants to keep its eco-system proprietary.
Nano SIM card: The iPhone 4 moved to a macro SIM and the 5 is expected to shrink this down even further to make more room inside the case.
Features:Camera: 1080p rear/720p front. The iPhone 4S rear camera is expected to make another appearance with an upgrade to a higher-res front camera for better quality video calls.
Faster: Processor and memory: Possibly a new quad-core A6 processor, which is would need to push the new pixels around 1GB RAM.


Connectivity:
LTE!
Following on from the last iPad we’re expecting the new iPhone to introduce LTE connectivity. In addition to 700 and 2100MHz we expect 800 and 1800MHz frequencies to be added for support in Europe and Asia markets. This would tie in very nicely for UK carrier Everything Everywhere, which is making an announcement, expected to be regarding its LTE plans, the day before Apple on 11 September.
OS: iOS6 – Apple’s own 3D maps with turn-by-turn directions:
The latest version of iOS is expected to keep pace and possibly overtake Android for features. The most obvious changes will be the ditching of Google Maps and the YouTube apps as it looks to distance itself from Google.

Highlights:-

  • Facebook integration
  • Passbook: Keep eTickets and coupons in one handy place.
  • FaceTime oner cellular: video calls over the phone network
  • Answer phone calls with messages

Price: It’s likely to follow previous patterns so in the UK that would be £499/£599 and £699 for 16MB/32MB and 64MB.

Possible
Wifi: 802.11ac. Apple has often adopted wifi standards quickly and this evolution of wifi takes speeds to around 800Mbs which would play very well for its media empire.
NFC: This technology is what powers contact(less) payment apps as already used in several Android devices such as the Nexus. In terms of the rumour mill, it’s 50/50 whether this will be in the new iPhone.

Not this time:
Liquid metal: Apple has bought a company making material that would make phones thinner, lighter and stronger. Not likely to be ready for this handset though.
Wireless charging:
The new Nokia Lumia 920 features funky wireless charging tech. Not heading the iPhone’s way.

One more thing:
What we don’t know is what Apple is going to pull out the bag as an extra. The comapny likes to offer up an additional service that sets it apart from the competition and keep users wanting to stay within its ecosystem beyond the hardware. Could it be a music streaming service – ala Spotify?

The big question is whether it will all add up to be enough to keep Apple ahead of the game or seen be being playing catch up to an ever advancing Android market and a revitalised Windows collection of devices. We’ll have to wait and see.

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