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

china unicom iphone 5 hspa plus
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.

Top Rated Comments

JangoFett124 Avatar
139 months ago
Speed is meaningless when you're capped at 2gb. In fact, speed in those cases can be detrimental to your wallet.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
toddybody Avatar
139 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
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
j4bles Avatar
139 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:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dorfdad Avatar
139 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!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tirerim Avatar
139 months ago
HSPA+ is still part of UMTS specification. Even if it is the latest and fastest version of this norm, it is still a 3G standard.
It is not an "intermediary".

Honestly, the idea of dividing technologies into 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. is just a marketing gimmick. They all encompass a variety of different technologies which have a range of speeds. Yes, there are official dividing lines, but since they're just marketing gimmicks anyway, it's kind of pointless to argue about what goes in what category. If you really care exactly how fast your connection is, you need to look at the precise technology being used, the same as with a wired connection.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
soco Avatar
139 months ago
I really don't get all of these whinegasms about speed being a bad thing.

Faux-G is just going to give better quality streaming and faster downloading to those who have been struggling with 3G.

Saying it'll just get you to your cap faster is as silly as saying if you buy a cake and eat it all in one sitting, you wasted your money. Sorry, but if that's what I want to do with my delicious cake, then bug off and let me eat it. If you want to have a slice a day and make it last, good for you.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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