AT&T’s iPhone 4S to show “4G” in the status bar
While Apple’s new iPhone 4S looks exactly like the old iPhone 4, it comes with arguably significant improvements. One of them is the fact that it can provide faster download speeds (14.4Mbps – double the 7.2Mbps speeds the iPhone 4 is capable of offering).
Last week, when the iPhone 4S was officially unveiled in Cupertino, Apple compared it to some of AT&T’s current smartphones that are marketed as 4G devices: Motorola Atrix 4G, LG Thrill 4G, and HTC Inspire 4G. The infographic presented by Apple (see it below) showed the iPhone 4S as being on par with the other three Android handsets – since they can all handle 14.4Mbps.
What Apple did not say last week was that AT&T’s iPhone 4S would be sold as a 4G handset, too.
The second largest US carrier has already applied a virtual 4G sticker on the iPhone 4S on its official website.
Moreover, according to This is my next / The Verge, AT&T has confirmed that it’s “working with Apple” to enable the iPhone 4S status bar indicator to display “4G” when HSPA+ is in use. Reportedly, “the indicator will require an iOS update to enable.”
Now, I can’t say I blame AT&T for wanting to sell the iPhone 4S as a 4G handset. After all, its iPhone 4S will be the only one in the US to allow downloads speeds of up to 14.4Mbps (since Verizon’s and Sprint’s versions will be stuck with EV-DO rev. A). At least the carrier doesn’t work with Apple for rebranding the new device to call it iPhone 4S 4G.
What I don’t quite understand is why AT&T isn’t marketing other HSPA+ handsets as 4G-capable – take the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S II for example: the 3G radio inside it has to be capable of providing 14.4Mbps download speeds (if not 21Mbps).
Anyway. Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have started yesterday, and it looks like AT&T has already received more than 200,000 orders. The new iPhone is offered in either black or white, in three versions: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Their prices on contract are $199.99, $299.99, and $399.99, respectively.
After the iPhone 4S is launched (October 14), AT&T will also continue to offer the iPhone 4 (only in an 8GB flavor – for $99 on contract), and the 2-yr old iPhone 3GS (for free on contract).