iPhone 4S: What's in a Name?

5:55 PM -- Don't cry, techno kid!

The Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone 4S may not be numbered 5, but it actually implements many of the updates initially expected for that so-far unseen phone.

In fact, the Cupertino crew has smoothly pulled in features from around the wide world of smartphones -- and added some software sizzle -- and is ready to sell it all back to the world in the 4S. Quite literally, as the iPhone 4S will roll out worldwide to 31 countries by the end of October.

As LR Mobile readers and editors note, Apple is playing catchup with Android on implementing faster HSPA+ 3G, with maximum download speeds of 14.4 Mbit/s that will never be achieved in the real world. Dual antennas have previously been seen in other phones and Wi-Fi devices but should help further increase performance.

Meanwhile, the Friends and Family tracking app seems to have some commonality with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Latitude tracker, and the Apple Siri assistant shares some tricks with Google Voice. Nonetheless, both the Apple apps look to be slickly implemented for maximum whiz-bang consumer appeal.

The looming iCloud services may prove to be the most impressive part of the new phone. Of course, the updates can only happen over Wi-Fi at the moment, likely because they would seriously test current 3G network performance.

So we're looking at Long Term Evolution (LTE) for iCloud services over wireless everywhere. Could that happen in June, or will Apple stick to an October launch schedule now?

I don't know, and I'd check the agenda of anyone who tells you they do. Clearly, Apple has work to do with LTE battery life and performance before it is comfortable launching a 4G iPhone.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:51:55 PM
re: iPhone 4S: What's in a Name?

Yeah, but honestly we weren't expecting LTE in the iPhone and if Apple brought it out now it would have some of the same problems as the Thunderbolt.

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 4:51:55 PM
re: iPhone 4S: What's in a Name?

I get that there are a lot of whiz bang features on this phone, but the one significant upgrade in consumer wireless technologies is the quantum leap from the restrictions of 300-500 kbps to monstrous 4G communications to the hand.  I was hoping I could have an Apple option when VZW 4G becomes available in Virginia, but it doesn't look that way.

VZW is already doing significant coverage testing with new 4G equipment in Virginia.  Although not officially up and running, 4G appears for six or eight hours on the phones of the few people who have 4G capable equipment around here, then goes down.  It looks like VZW will put 4G LTE on the air here well ahead of the 2012-2013 proposed time, and we won't have an iPhone option for VZW.

Too bad, as my daughter's HTC Thunderbolt is a piece of crap with major display and OS issues crashing frequently.  I would NOT recommend the HTC Thunderbolt to any perspective VZW 4G customer.

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 4:51:47 PM
re: iPhone 4S: What's in a Name?

thanks, but darn, well I was kinda hoping this Apple phone would have LTE.  Good thing here is no rush to buy as VZW haven't gone live yet. 

The LTE phone is complex, people tend to forget there are actual receivers and transmitters in there that used to be the size of desktops, little wonder it sucks down batteries.  The 700 MHz requires a much longer antenna than the 1800-1900 MHz band, but for customer convenience they'll probably never reintroduce the pull up antenna even though it would perform better and thus possibly increase battery life.

I'm primarily a radio engineer first, so the idea of wrapping one's hands around and covering the antenna is alien to me anyhow.

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 4:51:43 PM
re: iPhone 4S: What's in a Name?

this from the eetimes communications designline email newsletter-

"on the heels of the disappointing iphone4s, the lte-capable iphone5 is now slated to arrive late 2012 or mid-2013. the delay — the lack of an affordable, thin chip set currently prevents lte support."

well, that's a bummer.

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