So, it’s almost that time folks, and about time I spouted another load of techno-babble. Below, we have what looks suspiciously like a new iPhone, and you’d be right.

Output from the latest cycle of the rumour mill

These images surfaced a few weeks ago, following leaked parts of the device indicating a smaller ‘nano’ SIM tray; smaller dock connector; taller display and a slightly differently positioned FaceTime camera. However, the same images have appeared from various locations now, some comparing this new device to the current 4S model and displaying the size decrease of the new handset.

So it would seem, having had it confirmed by so many people, that we are in fact looking at the new iPhone 5.

Other details have confirmed some of the rumours. Developers who have been given beta versions of iOS 6 have noted that the new operating system automatically scales itself to a different resolution depending on the size of the display.

Pretty big giveaway, if you ask me. The quad-core processor found in the iPad 3 was discovered in the same way, a year ago.

Of course, because none of this has came from Apple, and we can only tell so much from images, there is still no telling exactly what this handset will feature when we see it. Legend has it however, that we’re going to be seeing it on September 12th, with a release date some 9 days later… The more astute among you realising that this is less than a year since the launch of the iPhone 4S!

Going on from the launch of the iPad 3, we can be sure of a few things however. Like the iPhone 4s, the new model will be both IS-95 and GSM compliant, so there will be one handset compatible with networks from all providers in the states – more or less. LTE compatibility is a given, but if you’re not reading this from across the pond I’m afraid you’re going to be missing out there, as it’s unlikely that the device will be tuned to function on the LTE bands which are being implemented in the likes of Europe. It will be DC-HSDPA compatible though, so you will see faster 3G speeds with this device than you would using an iPhone 4; a good enough reason to upgrade in itself, really.

That is a real gripe for me, with this handset, however.

Previously, I posted about this whole LTE thing; what does and what doesn’t technically class as 4G, if you’re going to be pedantic about it, and I have a correction to make.

DC-HSDPA, Dual Carrier-High Speed Download Packet Access, is what is being branded as 4G as a marketing scam in some countries. *cough* USA *cough* With DC-HSDPA, two streams of downstream data are amalgamated, increasing throughput with Multiple-Input Multiple-Output.

Both LTE-Advanced (true 4G) and DC-HSDPA+ use multiple antennae to send and receive data, and for this reason the ITU-R has permitted networks to brand their networks as 4G, despite not being capable of the throughput which they defined the 4G standard should be capable of.

I digress…

The real purpose of this post, is to discuss something else: fragmentation.

In the 80’s, we Europeans got together to form a new digital cellular telephony standard because the systems we currently had in place were incompatible with each other, and in violation of two treaties of the European Union; namely:

  • Free Movement of Goods and Services
  • Free Movement of People

Thanks to my sister for that useful byte of information there!

Due to high volumes of population movement around Europe, it was decided that mobile communication should be unified across all countries on the continent, to allow for things like business growth in new territories and for those of us with camera phones to be able to send photo’s of our view of the hotel pool back home to our (ever jealous) mates.

Granted, photo messaging wasn’t a part of the original GSM specification.

This all came about, because we saw a need for unified communications, at least across a whole continent.

Now let’s fast-forward 30 years. GSM is now at the bottom of the food chain, superseded by standards which offer high-speed internet access, video calling, video streaming, and any other ‘ing’ that you happen to think of. The world is an ever more connected, smaller place, and international travel for business and pleasure is now going a lot further than just the south of France!

In the United States, LTE networks operate on the 700MHz and 2.1GHz band. In Europe, the plan is to place them on the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, meaning that devices bought in one country will not be compatible with the devices from another, and vice versa.

LTE is therefor, simultaneously, a massive step both forward and back. 4G was specified by the ITU-R as a way of implementing further, high speed, wireless telephony, internet and mobile broadband access. The possibilities for change which come about with LTE, particularly for impoverished countries and areas where landline internet access would be a costly activity to rollout, are literally endless. Since spending some time in a communications department I’ve learned the advantages of using wireless comms in places like West Africa, for the simple reason that copper is so valuable down there, you can lay as many cables as you like, but there will always be someone waiting behind you to lift it again and sell it!

What we are now seeing, is analogue Europe on a global scale. This needs to be addressed. Granted, this is going to be massive undertaking to bring everything into line, and it will be done at the expense of the consumer. The ironic part of this situation is the name, LTE.

It stands for Long Term Evolution.

How long term a solution can it really be, if we can’t all make use of it’s capabilities when we’re looking for a pizza-by-the-slice joint in New York City; to share a photo of you and your girlfriend in front of the Colosseum; to conduct a video conference with a home based colleague?

Sort it out, lads.