Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Apple Job Postings Point Towards Continued Work on Voice Over LTE
Subscribers on CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon) will further benefit from VoLTE, as it allows the simultaneous use of data and voice, something that's not currently possible.
First discovered by LightReading (via Gigaom) job openings at Apple include Cellular Systems Protocol Engineer and Senior Baseband Audio Engineer. The protocol engineer position requires hands-on experience with VoLTE, among other wireless technologies, while the senior position also asks for experience with the VoLTE specification. Several additional positions also ask for experience with Session Initiation Protocol, which is essential for creating a connection between devices and LTE networks.
The company is currently advertising for a cellular systems protocol engineer, calling for experience with "VoLTE" and "IMS." Other positions are calling for experience with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) protocol. [...]VoLTE is in the early stages of a rollout, with a full implementation hinging on support from both carriers and device makers. In the U.S., carriers have already begun exploring and investing in VoLTE technology. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless announced plans to roll out Voice Over LTE in 2014, promising "an HD Voice experience."
Apple is also looking for a senior baseband engineer to work on "cutting-edge" audio for its devices, which will include the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) speech compression codec, which is part of the VoLTE specification. The engineer will help to "implement, port, and deploy AMR-WB, AMR-NB, CELP, EVRC-B, EVRC, EVS Vocoders, and Jitter Buffers on Mobile devices," according to the ad.
AT&T and T-Mobile have also announced support for VoLTE on a limited number of devices and in a limited number of markets, also promising higher quality calls. VoLTE is also picking up steam in other countries around the world, with several global carriers now offering support for the technology.
While Apple is posting new job listings related to VoLTE, it is likely the company has been working on the technology for some time, in response to a carrier shift towards VoLTE. Previous reports from 9to5Mac have suggested that Apple may enable support for VoLTE alongside the launch of iOS 8, with support built into the iPhone 6.
Because the Qualcomm LTE chips used in Apple devices since the iPhone 5 natively support voice, it is also possible that existing devices, in addition to the iPhone 6, will be able to offer support for VoLTE following a software update. It does, however, remain unclear if this is a feature that will roll out immediately with the launch of iOS 8 or in a future iOS 8 update in late 2014 or early 2015.