Apple's New iPhones Have 20 LTE Bands, VoLTE

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).

For more on Apple news, read back through Light Reading's News & Analysis queue.

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

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Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 3:57:16 PM
Re: I don't have to buy new pants The new iPhone remembered the Web page Chrome was on. 

My podcast app, Downcast, did not install correctly. I tapped the icon and nothing happened. I uninstalled and reinstalled it. It seems to be syncing my podcasts and setting correctly, including that partly-listened-to podcast. 
Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 3:11:09 PM
Re: I don't have to buy new pants It always seems like witchcraft to me the way iOS devices remember the state of everything when you restore from an iCloud backup. This time, iCloud is preserving my screen layout. And it's even preserving the bogus message alert I'm getting on the Google Hangouts app. 

Feature upgrade: I use the Lose It app to track diet and exercise. On the iPhone 5S and 6, the app connects to the motion coprocessor. It tracks how many steps I take and if I go past 7,500, I get a calorie bonus.

I usually do enough exercise each day to get five cookies as a bedtime snack. But now if I exercise more I can have more cookies. 

I'll do a lot for more cookies. 
Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 2:55:30 PM
Re: I don't have to buy new pants Ten minutes to restore from iCloud and go through activation to the point where the phone is usable. Now it's downloading apps an data. I expect that will take a while. 

As part of activating, the phone has me setting up the fingerprint sensor in Touch ID. Prompts show up on screen: Touch Your Finger ... Lift Your Finger ... Touch Your Finger ... Lift Your Finger. It's like the world's stupidest video game. I fear I am losing. 
Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 2:46:08 PM
Re: I don't have to buy new pants How it feels: It's definitely bigger. Some reviews are saying the iPhone 6, though smaller than the 6 Plus, is too big too hold comfortably, and the thinness and rounded edges make it feel slippery and easy to drop. These reviewers are talking about needing a case for the phone. 

I'm not finding that to be a problem. It's very comfortable to hold, though noticably bigger, smoother, and thinner than the iPhone 5. I didn't regularly use a case for any of my previous iPhones, and I don't expect to use one for this phone. 

It's 11:43 am and I just started to restore from iCloud. Let's see how long it takes. 
Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 2:40:22 PM
Re: I don't have to buy new pants Just for the heck of it, I'm going to see how well the backup saves state. I'm in the middle of listening to a podcast on the old phone, with 1 hr. 19 minutes left to go. I also have Light Reading open in the Chrome browser. Let's see if the new phone remembers that. 
Mitch Wagner 9/22/2014 | 2:39:04 PM
I don't have to buy new pants I'm usually on a two-year cycle for upgrading my iPhone, but I dithered about this one. I've been satisfied with my iPhone 5, and nothing about this one seemed THAT compelling. 

Then I thought: Faster processor, better camera, improved battery life, motion-sensitive coprocessor for tracking exercise. Verizon trade-in makes it very affordable. Why not?

On the spur of the moment, I called my local Apple Store yesterday at 5:45 pm to see if they had the model we wanted in stock. They said they did. But they closed at 7 pm. So runrunrun to make it by 6:20 pm, only to find out they didn't have iPhones in stock after all. What the heck? Back home emptyhanded. 

This morning I ordered online. I was going to just have it shipped but the Apple Store said I might be able to get the phone same day for in-store pickup. I said sure, why not -- and the online Apple store said I could pick up my phone at the same store I went to yesterday, the one that was supposedly sold out. What the heck?

Expecting disappointment, I went to the Apple Store and they did indeed have my phone. The clerk was unable to explain why they were sold out yesterday. He said something about downloading inventory. I don't understand what "downloading inventory" means, unless they are 1) Making the phone using Star Trek replicators, which would explain Apple's amazing supply chain execution or 2) The store is required to set aside a certain number of phones for online orders, and that's what they meant when they said they were sold out yesterday. They had the phone in stock but the phones were unavailable for walk-in sales.

I was not disappointed this morning. The transaction took about 15 minutes, executed with Apple's usual friendliness and efficiency. I was first in line for online sales pickup at about 10:20 am, 20 minutes after the store opened. About three people joined the line after I arrived. There were about  dozen people waiting on the no-reservations line. That's pretty good demand considering the phones were already on sale for three full days. 

While I was in the store, I chatted with the salesclerks about whether the iPhone 6 Plus or 6 is in greater demand. They said they don't see  a pattern. The woman who helped me had a 6 Plus and said she's already having second thoughts that it might be too big. She'll exchange it when the 14-day review period is up if she still doesn't like it.

I have this theory that people who work on their feet all day prefer phablets, while people who have desk jobs prefer smaller phones. People who work on their feet all day don't have easy access to desktop computers and tablets. People who have desk jobs do.  

I'm doing a final backup of my iPhone 5 now before cutting over to the new device. 

I've already addressed one concern: Early this year, I bought three identical pairs of tactical pants and three of the same pants as shorts, all with phone pockets. These pants and shorts are my everyday wear, weekdays and weekends. The new phones, though larger, still fit in the phone pockets of the pants. So I don't have to buy new pants. That's a relief. 

OK, iCloud backup is done. Time to activate the new phone. 
abucek 9/16/2014 | 8:46:28 AM
Re: One more thing...

I was just trying to state the obvious.

Mr. Cook's response was swift:

"I don't think we skipped over it. I addressed it in the presentation myself. We think that based on our experience of wearing these that the usage of them will be really significant throughout the day. So we think you'll want to charge them every night, similar to what a lot of people do with their phone."

In other words, the Watch's battery life is probably less than a day, which is roughly the same as a smartphone. Mr. Cook went on to explain that this was why Apple designed a simple power-charging solution, based on magnetic induction technology.



sourdoughjosh 9/15/2014 | 5:10:32 PM
Re: One more thing... Abucek is sure that the battery life will physically contract the muscles of its mouth to create a vacuum? Really?
DanJones 9/15/2014 | 11:02:11 AM
Sales Apple is claiming record sales for the iPhone 6. The phones went on sale Friday and have shifted 4 million in pre-sales.
abucek 9/10/2014 | 12:18:54 AM
Re: One more thing... Iam sure the battery life on the iWatch will literally suck.......
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