The first iPhone launched by Apple had a rather fleeting life, and was partly due to the defect of not being compatible with the 3G mobile network. By simply using GPRS the phone was very slow to load web pages, so the company fixed the problem with the iPhone 3G. And from that model to the current iPhone 4, we still use that 3G mobile network in our handsets . And that, frankly, is not a problem: the 3G network gives us decent connection speeds for what we use the phone for: 3.6 Mbitsecond or even double that in some areas.
But the successor to 3G, the 4G mobile network, has been progressing well for years . The iPhonera rumor has always left a gap in that protocol to claim that the next model of the phone will include that technology, but the evidence that the networks are not yet ready canceled that data. It has not been until now that these rumors begin to provide more solid evidence showing that Apple is immersed in launching its future devices ready for that 4G network.
But what exactly is this 4G network? What benefits will it bring us? We can’t help but get a little technical with this, but let’s count it after the jump.
The 4G network is basically an evolution of the 3G mobile network. And just as in the 3G network there are GSM and CDMA standards, in the 4G network the standards that are being disputed are WiMAX and LTE . It seems that LTE is in the lead, since it is the type of 4G network that is most used and is the standard that Apple is adopting according to the Boy Genius Report data that we mentioned before.
The main advantage of 4G networks is speed. The LTE standard enjoys download transfers that exceed 40 Megabytes per second (depending on the antenna it can go down by half) and that are around ten MBs upstream. It is also expected that the 4G coverage will not fluctuate and have as many losses as the current 3G, and we would get stable connections even moving at 500 km per hour thanks to the exchange of transmissions between antennas of different protocols will be transparent. Who has not complained about how the coverage behaves when we go on a train?
The benefits are obvious: high quality video conferences, high definition streaming… mobile networks will be even faster than fixed networks (unless we are using optical fibre or something similar). With antennas we could forget about hiring a fixed-line telephone. There would no longer be obstacles for any device to connect to the Internet. From refrigerators to washing machines, cars… we put a 4G antenna to anything and that’s it.
Apple is preparing to adopt this new protocol in its future devices. We will probably not see it on the iPhone 5 that is rumored to come out soon, but in a few years we will see the transfer from 3G to 4G irremediably. The only obstacle: the operators . The only obstacle: the operators . 4G network infrastructure is still being prepared in many countries, and as always Spain is the last in line to adapt. And that is because Telefónica, a Spanish company, has already implemented the 4G network in Germany, but not in our country…
The price that operators will set to be able to use that 4G network will also be crucial to determine how to use it. If the prices are reasonable we could even replace it with the fixed internet and telephone networks, but if the rates continue to be just as abusive I’m afraid that no matter how much 4G we have as surfers we won’t want to pay stratospheric fees to be able to use it .
Apple plays a major role in this transition: it is the company that catapulted mobile internet use to the first iPhone and iPad , which has caused problems for operators to cope with so much data traffic. If we are in this so-called Post-PC era, 4G networks will become essential sooner or later.