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.
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.
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.