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'iPhone 5' to Support 21 Mbps HSPA+ '4G' Technology

Japanese blog Mac Otakara reports (via MacPost) that a China Unicom executive apparently confirmed during a presentation at this week's Macworld Asia that the "iPhone 5" set to be announced next week will indeed support HSPA+ sometimes-called "4G" technology, offering a maximum theoretical data speed of 21 Mbps (up from 7.2Mbps). A slide showing the information was photographed by Japanese site PC Watch.
Japanese IT news site "PC Watch" tells that, Research vice president of China Unicom, Huan Wenliang, told iPhone 5 will support W-CDMA based high-speed data transfer standard HSPA Evolution "HSPA+" (21Mbps) at keynote speech in Macworld Asia 2011.
Many had been hoping that the next iPhone would support the even faster LTE 4G standard that has begun rolling out on a number of carriers, but rumors have consistently suggested that Apple will hold back on supporting the technology until appropriate chips of acceptable size and power consumption are available to meet Apple's needs. Apple has historically been conservative in adopting the latest cellular network technologies, having elected to release the original iPhone as an EDGE-only device even as many carriers were already rolling out 3G technology.

Claims of the iPhone 5 supporting HSPA+ surfaced earlier this year, with many noting that the move would result in a significant network speed difference between AT&T and Verizon/Sprint customers in the United States. AT&T has rolled out the intermediary HSPA+ technology as a bridge to LTE, and has been calling HSPA+ "4G" in its marketing -- though many believe "3.5G" is a more accurate description. So, existing AT&T iPhone 4 owners upgrading should be able to see a speed boost if they live in a supported area. In comparison, Verizon's data speeds max out a theoretical maximum of 3.1 Mbps. Meanwhile, true 4G (LTE) support for both Verizon and AT&T is not expected until the 2012 iPhone model at the earliest.

Qualcomm's world-mode MDM6600 chip found in the Verizon/CDMA iPhone 4 already supports 14.4 Mbps HSPA+, but the device itself is limited to CDMA networks.

China Unicom is Apple's current carrier partner for the iPhone in China, although China Mobile and China Telecom are also working hard to secure the ability to offer the device.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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38 months ago
Speed is meaningless when you're capped at 2gb. In fact, speed in those cases can be detrimental to your wallet.
Rating: 21 Votes
38 months ago
Faster data is always great, but I wouldn't want to see the iPhone's phenomenal battery life diminish between 4G and a rumored 4" display.

Anyways, glad to hear Apple is pushing the envelope in regards to tech specs.
Stay well MR friends
Rating: 15 Votes
38 months ago
about friggin' time.

i've had 4G LTE since Dec 2009 at 50Mb/s down, 5Mb/s up.

with NO cap.

if the iP5 is LTE, I would consider buying it. 6995 SEK / 1000 USD would be worth the cost, but NOT before LTE implementation is included.

I just can't believe that Apple would release a phone in (almost) 2012 without LTE. It really shows that Apple is an American company.
Rating: 10 Votes
38 months ago
AT&T Grandfather users better be able to keep that unlimited data capacity or I'm never switching from the 4! Unlimited Data FTW!
Rating: 10 Votes
38 months ago

Speed is meaningless when you're capped at 2gb. In fact, speed in those cases can be detrimental to your wallet.

It would make no difference to a casual user. I would still stream my Spotify, watch my Netflix and browse my Facebook. Just because I get the data faster doesn't mean I'm sucking down more data.

Even if I tethered, I'd still only be downloading the same content I would be downloading even if I had the 3G connection. So I don't see how "4G" would make me rage about my cap?!? :confused:
Rating: 9 Votes
38 months ago
No LTE, I'm going Android. If iOS makes that big of a difference, I'll just tether an iPod to it like I've been doing for months on a WebOS phone. I mean, Qualcomm's chips are ready in the right loads for Apple now, so I don't understand the delay.

I'll just wait for the Samsung AMOLED 350 dpi 4.5" displays. I don't think expecting Apple to match it was unreasonable. If you know what you're doing, Android is just as usable as iOS, though neither are as usable as the horribly mismanaged WebOS (HP and Palm = incompetent).

I mean, especially if Apple doesn't improve the screen, I don't see anything interesting in this phone that makes it worth buying, unless the voice commands make my iPhone a virtual friend when I'm feeling very lonely...

If the iPhone 5 is as pointless as it sounds, I can see why Apple has gone sue happy: They've fallen behind and stopped innovating at the same rate, yet are charging the same price. Period. And I know I'm going to be voted down for saying all companies are technologically innovating at a superior pace to Apple at the moment, but if you step out of the reality distortion field, you'd find it to be true-and there's little reason Apple can't do the same aside from wanting to have the largest margins per device.

Welcome back to Scullyville :mad:
Rating: 9 Votes
38 months ago

I hate to be pessimistic, but.... Not yet.


As mentioned the hybrid chipset used in the CDMA iPhone is known to support HSPA+ (14.4mbps), so it's almost certain to be supported in the next hybrid iPhone 5.

Rating: 8 Votes
38 months ago
Battery life is important.
Rating: 8 Votes
38 months ago
I've demoed some Android 4g LTE units. Trust me, the battery life is terrible. Also, adding LTE support would add some thickness. Nope.
Rating: 6 Votes
38 months ago
Was there ever any doubt of this? The MDM6600 in the Verizon iPhone supports 14.4Mbps HSPA+. Though I do wonder where they get the 21.1Mbps number from.


I also have a very strong suspicious that Apple has dictated to AT&T that they aren't allowed to call any iPhone that doesn't have LTE a "4G iPhone" or even mention "4G" in their marketing materials which contain an iPhone. That would REALLY screw up Apple's marketing when an LTE iPhone comes out and people wonder "but I thought my iPhone already had 4G!"
Rating: 5 Votes

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