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Verizon iPhone 5S: It’s Time for Talk and Surf, Can Apple Deliver?

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We expect Apple will announce the iPhone 5S this week at a special event at the Apple headquarters in California. While there are plenty of iPhone 5S rumors and features that we want to see, Verizon customers have a special wish — a Verizon iPhone 5S that can talk and surf at the same time.

While most carriers offer the iPhone 5 with the same features, AT&T and T-Mobile have an edge over the Verizon iPhone because the iPhone 5′s antenna design lets customers on those networks talk and surf at the same time. The Verizon iPhone 5 will not let users surf the web while on a phone call.

While this feature is sometimes advertised in a humorous manner the inability to talk and surf on the Verizon iPhone limits the usefulness of the iPhone for business users and average users alike.

Read: iPhone 5S U.S. Release Date Details Emerge

Apple changed the antenna design on the iPhone 4S from the 4 and on the iPhone 5 from the 4S, so it is possible that the company is planning to tweak the capabilities of the iPhone 5S antenna in order to let users talk and surf a the same time. At this point there are not enough solid rumors to suggest the Verizon iPhone 5S will let users talk and surf at the same time, but there is hope.

There is hope the Verizon iPhone 5S will support talk and surf at the same time, but it's not clear if Apple can deliver.

There is hope the Verizon iPhone 5S will support talk and surf at the same time, but it’s not clear if Apple can deliver.

Anandtech explains in lengthy detail why the iPhone 5 does not support the ability to talk and surf at the same time, but the short version is only one of the iPhone 5′s antennas can actively transmit at a time. This means when a phone call is active on the Verizon iPhone all signals are busy in terms of data and thus, the iPhone 5 doesn’t support simultaneous voice and data on Verizon.

The article explains that Apple likely made this decision to keep the iPhone 5 size and weight down and to support the most 4G LTE bands.

It is possible that Apple will use the Qualcomm RF360 chip in the iPhone 5S to support 40 LTE bands and enable a thinner and lighter iPhone. While Qualcomm does not outline talk and surf as a feature that comes from this new radio chip, if Apple chooses it, more space inside a redesigned iPhone 5S could leave room for the required hardware.

Another possibility is that the Verizon iPhone 5S will support VoLTE, which allows voice calls to coexist with data on LTE. If this is the case a Verizon iPhone 5S could support talk and surf at the same time. But, this would not be something that users would likely see on day one.

Verizon told Gotta Be Mobile in June that the company plans to roll out VoLTE in 2014, and Droid-Life reports Verizon will launch the company’s first VoLTE capable phones in 2013. If the Verizon iPhone 5S is VoLTE capable Verizon iPhone users may finally be able to talk and surf at the same time.

If the iPhone 5S doesn’t let users talk and surf at the same time, the new iPhone for 2014 should at the very least deliver this feature.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

30 Comments

  1. Like a Boss

    09/09/2013 at 2:40 pm

    What about Sprint? They do not have the Talk and Surf feature either. Hopefully this thing has a Tri-Band antenna.

  2. Mike Merit

    09/10/2013 at 11:19 am

    What do you think? Looking at the specs I can’t tell if they delivered on this.

  3. boberonicus

    09/10/2013 at 11:57 am

    It ain’t the antenna. It’s CDMA that prevents simultaneous talk/data.

  4. I believe you are incorrect about this. I have an iPhone5 on AT&T that can talk and surf simultaneously and my girlfriend has the same phone on Verizon and can’t. The limitation appears to be with CDMA technology(since it works fine on GSM) and not a hardware issue.

    • Mike

      09/10/2013 at 2:03 pm

      The limitation is most definitely hardware based, Apple didn’t have enough room to fit dual antennas (upstream and downstream) into the iPhone 5 which is why CDMA on this device has the limitation. Some Android phones do provide the dual antennas and can do this on Verizon Wireless CDMA technology. As for the iPhone 5S we are still waiting for an official statement, however the iPhone 5C will not* have this capability.

      • Zach Gorden

        09/10/2013 at 7:23 pm

        All the 4G LTE phones on Verizon can do talk and surf on LTE, some can do it over 3G as well by SVDO like the GS3 and some HTC phones.

  5. Liam Knuj

    09/10/2013 at 1:53 pm

    Does it or doesn’t it. I can’t find any information saying it does? If it doesn’t I won’t be upgrading until the 6 or later. I won’t buy another iphone without it. I will switch away from verizon if I have to. FU Verizon and Apple for this huge FU.

  6. Greg

    09/10/2013 at 2:03 pm

    From what I recall, Apple does have dual radios in the iPhone 5 but the choose to use them both for the best call/reception quality vs. using the second to support SVDO on CDMA.

  7. Like a Boss

    09/10/2013 at 2:45 pm

    Any update on this yet?

  8. @SamsquamchMLIB (@SamsquamchMLIB)

    09/10/2013 at 9:47 pm

    Verizon Androids do it…

  9. Mo

    09/11/2013 at 5:46 am

    Any answers?

  10. Jeff

    09/11/2013 at 6:55 am

    What say you josh what is the verdict for the new iphone 5s on verizon? Inquiring minds want to know so please provide an update. Thanks.

  11. John

    09/11/2013 at 2:08 pm

    Any useful information about this? I would live to leave AT&T but simultaneous talk and surf is the only thing that is keeping me from switching. If Verizon iPhone 5s finally solves this they will gain me as a customer.

    • Zach

      09/11/2013 at 4:08 pm

      Try 3 way call on Verizon before you going to switch over.

  12. MarcWinNJ

    09/11/2013 at 5:55 pm

    It will be interesting to see if the VZW rep I chatted with tonight online knows what she is talking about. She stated the 5S will do simultaneous voice and data and when asked about the 5 she says it cannot. I guess we will find out on 9/20 when it goes on sale at VZW

    • MacWinNJ

      09/11/2013 at 5:56 pm

      I have a screen shot of the chat if anyone is interested

      • Mo

        09/11/2013 at 6:04 pm

        Yeah post it. I tried reps from Verizon and apple on Wednesday none knew anything

    • Zach

      09/11/2013 at 5:57 pm

      I hope that we will find out sooner.

      • John

        09/11/2013 at 6:15 pm

        I spoke to reps at verizon and was told no it will not be possible on 5s. I escalated to a supervisor and was once again told that it will not be possible.
        What did you mean about 3 way calling in verizon?

        • Zach

          09/11/2013 at 6:48 pm

          I mean that it suck, compared to a 3 way on gsm network. Lets say that I called you and you want to add another call to make it 3 way, ok? so you can’t,, you must hung up the call, call me and then call add the other call. It’s one of the limitation that you have when you on CDMA network.

  13. Mark

    09/22/2013 at 2:20 pm

    I haven’t run into the 3-way limitation on Verizon, and I have an iPhone 5. My friend on Sprint complains about that all the time though. He doesn’t have an iPhone 5 either though. He has the GS4.

    • Zach

      09/22/2013 at 2:29 pm

      When someone calls you try to add another call and make it 3 way and see if you can.

    • Zach

      09/22/2013 at 3:18 pm

      Let me correct myself. With Verizon, when you get a call waiting, and you answer, the screen will read “multiple calls”. Once this happens, even if you end one of the calls, the ability to make a 3 way call becomes disabled, because the phone still thinks that multiple lines are being used at once.

  14. Mark

    09/22/2013 at 4:22 pm

    Ah ok. I haven’t run into that scenario, but I understand what you’re saying now.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  15. Trucker1970

    11/20/2013 at 8:07 am

    Very disappointed in the no talk and surf on the 5s using verizon network. Any verizon phone on 4G LTE can talk and surf. I had an htc EVO 4G LTE that could talk and surf on 3G and my friend had the Thundetbolt on verizon that could do it. This is my first iPhone and I guess I should have waited a little longer maybe for the iPhone 6. I have unlimited data on verizon and the hot spot active and a friend pays for it so I’m not switching to AT&T just for talk and surf. I use on average 14 gigs a month. Sprint has unlimited but I’m done with those fools.

    I do like the iPhone 5s switching from android is a slight learning curve but I’m getting better every day.

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