As expected, Apple unveiled its latest iPhones today, the iPhone 6 and larger-screen iPhone 6 Plus, both of which include 20 bands of LTE with carrier aggregation. (See Handset Vendors Battle for Limelight.)
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled the phones at its Cupertino headquarters on Tuesday, noting that they include more LTE bands than any other smartphone on the market -- three more than last year's iPhone 5S -- meaning its customers should be able to roam onto more networks across the globe. (See New iPhones Use Old Qualcomm LTE Chips and Apple's New iPhones Pack in LTE Bands.)
The devices don't, however, use the most advanced Cat 6 LTE chipsets, opting instead for the Cat 4 LTE, which supports up to 150 Mbit/s LTE in markets where it's available and carrier aggregation for more capacity. (See LTE RF: Complicated by Design.)
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus also include support for voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) on "a lot of carriers around the world" and voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) that will work on T-Mobile US Inc. and EE at launch. (See Apple Eyes VoLTE as 4G Voice Gets Real and Taqua Acquires Kineto for VoWiFi Push.)
You can find all the specs and details of the new phones over on Apple's live blog (although don't expect to see a functioning live stream of today's event, which is still ongoing).
Notably, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have also finally included near-field communications (NFC) chips for contactless payments. Apple's lack of support for the technology is often cited as a reason mobile payments have failed to take off, but the iGiant will soon be offering its own payments service, Apple Pay. It will use the phone's NFC chip and securely store credit card info in Passbook, which it launched last year. (See Did Apple Just Kill NFC? and Apple Could Make Mobile Payments AuthenTec.)
Apple said it is working with the big six banks, 22,000 retailers, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, but made no mention of the wireless operators, which have their own mobile payments alternative, the newly named Softcard, in the US. (See Isis Changes Name to Softcard.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading