Macworld reports that while the iPhone 3GS does support the improved 7.2 Mbps download transfer speed now currently being deployed in the U.S. by AT&T and already available in other parts of the world, it will not support the correspondingly improved upload transfer speeds of 1.4 or 1.9 Mbps generally available on such networks and will be limited to the same 384 Kbps upload speed available on the iPhone 3G.

I had supposed that Apple took the opportunity to build HSUPA on the upstream side, at either 1.4 or 1.9 Mbps speeds that are supported in many European networks that have already rolled out 7.2 Mbps HSDPA. But it turns out, Apple didn't. . .

After my HSPA article ran, reader Nick Dunklee pointed out in e-mail that a teardown at RapidRepair of an iPhone 3GS shows that it has a UMTS/HSDPA chip. UMTS is the earliest 3G standard deployed on GSM networks, and it tops out at 384 Kbps. It's easy to test, if you have an iPhone 3GS. Go to any speed tester, like Testmyiphone when you're outdoors with a good signal. Downstream, you might hit well over 1 Mbps; upstream, under 384 Kbps.

Macworld's report is a follow-up to a previous article that discussed the ins and outs of the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network standard and how AT&T's offerings compare to that standard.

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is actually two separate standards: HSDPA (for downstream) at a raw rate of 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA (for upstream), likely at raw rates of 1.4 Mbps or 1.9 Mpbs, the two most popular upload speeds deployed by existing 7.2 HSPA carriers. The 7.2 Mbps downstream and 1.4/1.9 Mbps upstream rates represent the full bandwidth available in a given HSPA channel, but don't translate to what an individual user will see.

For AT&T's current HSPA system, the company claims range from 700 Kbps to 1.7 Mbps downstream, and 500 Kbps to 1.2 Mbps upstream.

So while the iPhone 3G was unable to even take full advantage of existing upstream transfer speeds, the iPhone 3GS suffers from the same limitation. But the limitation is not unique to the iPhone, as the new report mentions that other GSM smartphones are also utilizing the older UMTS standard at a maximum of 384 Kbps.

Dunklee examined the specs on a number of GSM network smartphones, and found none included HSUPA. It's possible that there could be a firmware update from UMTS to HSUPA, but thats unlikely. There's usually a reason for using an older standard, which is related to power consumption, chip size, or cost.

Smartphones using competing CDMA technology, such as those on Sprint and Verizon, however, do take advantage of the full upstream capacity, suggesting that the limitation is related to the use of GSM technology as the basis for these cellular networks.

Top Stories

iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...