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Apple announces new iPad Air (and mini)

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For anyone who apparently deemed my post "trolling," you are wrong.  And you need to get a thicker skin.  Fraydog teed it up, and I drove the green.  I take advantage of those humorous opportunities in countless threads at S4GRU.

 

My post here was relevant commentary on iOS devices being behind the times, especially as that pertains to Sprint.  Plus, it was just sharp comedy.

 

If you cannot see and appreciate that, then you are in too deep with iOS apologetics.  At S4GRU, an iOS related thread is not your private sandbox.  Criticism is welcome.  Apple has been no friend to Sprint, so if any animosity bubbles to the surface, you should understand that.

 

AJ

 

It's OK, we can all still be friends.

 

I also suggest you check out Anandtech's review of the A7 if you think Apple is "behind the times". It's the worlds best SOC currently shipping in any phone or tablet.

 

 

My new Air arrives this Friday. Ended up not paying the cellular tax, I just don't need it but once or twice a year. I almost got the Tmobile one though, since it comes with lifetime free data monthly which would be perfect for those once in a while needs.

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It's OK, we can all still be friends.

Agreed. I debate hard, but that does not mean we cannot go out and have a virtual beer afterward.

I also suggest you check out Anandtech's review of the A7 if you think Apple is "behind the times". It's the worlds best SOC currently shipping in any phone or tablet.

Well, you are a little "behind the times" with a response to a post that was itself in response to a situation in The Forums a month ago.

 

But we can revisit that discussion, and I say, "processor schmocessor." SOCs have gotten so good that it hardly matters anymore -- A6, A7, Snapdragon 600, Snapdragon 800 -- they all get the job done and do it well.

 

No, what matters now is RF. And Apple is "behind the times," sticking with a Cat 3 baseband this year, while the top Android handsets have gone Cat 4 with the MSM8974.

 

Sprint wise, the situation is even worse. Ever since Apple made that deal with the devil aka AT&T, then later shacked up with VZW, it has been giving Sprint short shrift. With Apple devices, Sprint gets its network specific capabilities a generation late. Anyone who gives Apple a free pass on that and instead blames Sprint, well, should probably find a different wireless provider. Go to oh holy 3GPP pure T-Mobile...

 

AJ

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How many devices are running a MSM8974? Only the most recent devices like the G2, the One Max, and Note 3 are (with the Note 3 still single band on Sprint.)

 

Also, how many of those devices are supporting 13 bands of LTE? I know they technically might be able to, but that's a moot point if they are gimped from doing that at the hands of the carriers.

 

The first RF tests I have seen in the FCC OET for the 5S were done in June. At that point Sprint had a limited TD-LTE deployment planned out. I don't think it's a deliberate attempt to short shrift. Also remember that SoftBank is a pretty valuable partner for Apple as the foremost iPhone vendor in Japan. At the time the band configuration was decided, we didn't even know if Sprint would be part of SoftBank or Dish.

 

I don't see Apple hurting in the RF department here, I really don't. I do see them doing very well in a lot of areas, and RF performance is an area where I believe they have improved drastically since the Antennagate debacle.

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Agreed. I debate hard, but that does not mean we cannot go out and have a virtual beer afterward.

 

Well, you are a little "behind the times" with a response to a post that was itself in response to a situation in The Forums a month ago.

But we can revisit that discussion, and I say, "processor schmocessor." SOCs have gotten so good that it hardly matters anymore -- A6, A7, Snapdragon 600, Snapdragon 800 -- they all get the job done and do it well.

No, what matters now is RF. And Apple is "behind the times," sticking with a Cat 3 baseband this year, while the top Android handsets have gone Cat 4 with the MSM8974.

Sprint wise, the situation is even worse. Ever since Apple made that deal with the devil aka AT&T, then later shacked up with VZW, it has been giving Sprint short shrift. With Apple devices, Sprint gets its network specific capabilities a generation late. Anyone who gives Apple a free pass on that and instead blames Sprint, well, should probably find a different wireless provider. Go to oh holy 3GPP pure T-Mobile...

AJ

I didn't think Qualcomm was even selling the MSM8974 as a standalone part yet, I thought you had to use their Krait CPU. I could be wrong, I can't remember all their part numbers.

 

I'd like to see Apple put some of that cash horde to use and buy a baseband maker and take control of that aspect, instead of being stuck waiting for Qualcomm. They aren't afraid to invest billions in R&D as we are now seeing with the PA Semiconductor payoff. The other thing is buying fab space from Intel... That would permanently put them out of reach on performance, and Intel has been looking to get into that business, but who knows.

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If Apple had waited on the MDM9625, they probably wouldn't be able to release the iPhone until November. That means they'd have supply constraints around Black Friday and Christmas, not a position Apple would want to be in. Sure, they'd have Band 41 support, as well as 150 Mbps and carrier aggregation, but is that worth waiting until November? No way.

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How many devices are running a MSM8974? Only the most recent devices like the G2, the One Max, and Note 3 are (with the Note 3 still single band on Sprint.)

By the time that the next iPhone and iPad models are released in 10-11 months, lots of handsets will be running the MSM8974 SoC or MDM9625 baseband. Plus, at least VZW, maybe T-Mobile will have some markets with 20 MHz FDD up and running. The current iPhone and iPad Cat 3 basebands will be gimped in those markets. Do not use them for e-penis peak speed tests.

 

The first RF tests I have seen in the FCC OET for the 5S were done in June. At that point Sprint had a limited TD-LTE deployment planned out. I don't think it's a deliberate attempt to short shrift.

I do. I think Apple merely tolerates Sprint, arrogantly looks down its nose at Sprint.

 

The Clearwire TD-LTE overlay was underway this time last year. It was no secret. Heck, tri band LTE hotspots were available months before the latest iPhone and iPad models were released. Apple should have planned accordingly.

 

If I were Sprint, I would tell Apple to treat Sprint's 50+ million subs as well as it does those of AT&T and VZW. Incorporate all Sprint network capabilities in a timely fashion. Otherwise, Apple can go get bent. But we know how that move would go over with the unwashed masses addicted to iOS.

 

If Apple had waited on the MDM9625, they probably wouldn't be able to release the iPhone until November. That means they'd have supply constraints around Black Friday and Christmas, not a position Apple would want to be in. Sure, they'd have Band 41 support, as well as 150 Mbps and carrier aggregation, but is that worth waiting until November? No way.

Where do you get the idea that TDD support requires the MDM9625? The MDM9615 supports TDD. Even the MDM9600 supports TDD. TD-LTE capability has been baked into the baseband for years.

 

AJ

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I don't think most Sprint subscribers care about e-penis speed tests.

 

Again, is it worth Apple waiting until November for all carriers here to launch? No. Again, the supply constraints. 

 

I could argue Apple went on a limb adding SMR LTE when they didn't even know how much there would be for that either, but Sprint pre-SoftBank merger only had plans to use TD-LTE as a hotspot for capacity constraint. 

 

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Sprint-Taking-Clearwire-LTE-Build-Nationwide-125201

 

Here's a post from DSLReports chronicling SoftBank's decision to take the Clearwire LTE buildout nationwide. 

 

Finally, I never said that the MDM9625 was a requirement for band 41, perhaps my statement wasn't clear, so I'll clarify. It may well have been a requirement for the band configurations Apple wanted to run. We don't know that unless we can get some sort of in from either Qualcomm or Apple on that. 

 

Given that Sprint will be able to ramp up SMR LTE fairly quickly, there's no reason to think that the iPhone still wouldn't have a good network experience. SMR is, in my opinion, even more important than TD-LTE in 2013/2014. That gives Sprint much better coverage and enough headroom to get to closer to the end of 2014 for a full band 41 buildout.

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I don't think most Sprint subscribers care about e-penis speed tests.

You miss the point. Sprint subs will not be affected by the Cat 3 MDM9615 baseband iOS devices. VZW subs will. T-Mobile subs will. Their Cat 3 devices will not allow them to utilize all Resource Blocks on 20 MHz FDD carriers.

 

I could argue Apple went on a limb adding SMR LTE when they didn't even know how much there would be for that either...

 

Yep, and that would be typical of Apple treating Sprint as a second or even third class wireless operator. Honestly, I think Apple shows disdain for Sprint's CDMA2000 + LTE FDD/TDD hybrid network.

 

Finally, I never said that the MDM9625 was a requirement for band 41...

No, you did. You implied it. Go back and read what you wrote: "If Apple had waited on the MDM9625...they'd have Band 41 support..."

 

The MDM9625 is not necessary for TD-LTE, nor does it guarantee TD-LTE.  So, I think that you are backtracking in your assertion.

 

AJ

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You miss the point. Sprint subs will not be affected by the Cat 3 MDM9615 baseband iOS devices. VZW subs will. T-Mobile subs will. Their Cat 3 devices will not allow them to utilize all Resource Blocks on 20 MHz FDD carriers.

 

 

Yep, and that would be typical of Apple treating Sprint as a second or even third class wireless operator. Honestly, I think Apple shows disdain for Sprint's CDMA2000 + LTE FDD/TDD hybrid network.

 

No, you did. You implied it. Go back and read what you wrote: "If Apple had waited on the MDM9625...they'd have Band 41 support..."

 

The MDM9625 is not necessary for TD-LTE, nor does it guarantee TD-LTE.  So, I think that you are backtracking in your assertion.

 

AJ

 

Yes, T-Mobile and Verizon customers will be affected in being capped at 100 Mbps top theoretical speed. Under full loads, do those networks get to 100 Mbps? Probably not. I guess that affects people on completely unloaded towers. Even where I live, that doesn't describe VZW LTE. 

 

I'll concede the MDM9625 isn't needed to get TD-LTE. Clearly it's not with the presence of A1530. What it might be needed for - and what I'm going to have to dig deeper for - is to get more than the 13 bands on A1453.

 

What band do you think Apple should have deleted to get to 13 and add band 41 support on A1453? 

 

A year ago, I'm not sure it's even possible to have that many bands on an LTE phone. Still, I've advocated for Apple to have a mid-cycle release that would add TD-LTE and support China Mobile, SoftBank, and Sprint, taking in TD-SCDMA support, Band 41, and whatever else you want to throw in. Apple had a mid cycle release for T-Mobile to add AWS HSPA, so it's possible. 

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The additional bands come from a new RF front end, not the cellular chipset. The WTR1605L replaces the RTR8600. 

 

http://anandtech.com/show/7458/ipad-air-and-ipad-mini-with-retina-display-include-qualcomms-mdm9615-baseband

 

Second point, again from Anandtech, the WTR1605L and WFR1620 are both required for carrier aggregation. 

 

http://anandtech.com/show/7531/qualcomm-announces-fourth-gen-cat-6-lte-modem-mdm9x35

 

Once I saw the 9635's specs, and see how it's better than the 9625 in almost every way, I can somewhat understand how Apple skipped the 9625. I guess the main difference is the 150 Mbps peak speed for VZW and T-Mobile. 

 

I hope the 9635 is available by the time the iPhone 6 is ready for manufacture.

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Finally, may I present what Apple could do... model A1530a.

 

Sprint TD-LTE iPhone 5S variant A1530a

 
CDMA BC 0,1,10,15
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
UMTS 1,2,4,5,8
LTE 1,2,3,5,7,8,20,25,26,38,39,40,41
TD-SCDMA 34,38,39,40

 

Share that with China Mobile, SoftBank, and Sprint, and you have economies of scale exceeding all the carriers the A1533 is on. 

 

http://www.xgpforum.com/new_XGP/en/001/TDD_band.html

 

http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

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Finally, may I present what Apple could do... model A1530a.

 

Sprint TD-LTE iPhone 5S variant A1530a

 
CDMA BC 0,1,10,15
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
UMTS 1,2,4,5,8
LTE 1,2,3,5,7,8,20,25,26,38,39,40,41
TD-SCDMA 34,38,39,40

 

Share that with China Mobile, SoftBank, and Sprint, and you have economies of scale exceeding all the carriers the A1533 is on.

 

That would be great.  But I am sick and tired of Apple's unyielding focus on economy of scale.  Other OEMs have no problem with making Sprint specific device variants.  It can be done.  Get it done.

 

So, by continuing to buy iPhone and iPad devices despite the Sprint drawbacks, many of you are just feeding your iOS addiction, thereby propping up Apple's stock price and its ungodly foreign held war chest.

 

AJ

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744 million China Mobile subscribers kind of renders the economy of scale arguments that could be made kind of moot. That makes any economy of scale achieved here look weak. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators

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744 million China Mobile subscribers kind of renders the economy of scale arguments that could be made kind of moot. That makes any economy of scale achieved here look weak.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators

China is a very stratified market. Maybe 50-100 million of those customers would pay for an LTE data plan and consider buying flagship devices like iPhones and Galaxys. The rest are using $150 Samsung Y series or Chinese brand phones, which although they technically run Android can hardly be considered smartphones. They certainly aren't going to sign up for data plans or buy expensive handsets.

 

 

Edit: iPad Air arrived today. I didn't think the weight would matter at first but I can totally tell. Performance is noticeably improved too.

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