Apple delivers HD voice on the iPhone 5

This story updated around 11:45 PM ET on September 12 — Audience voice processing tech is notin the Apple iPhone 5.  HD Voice News apologies for the erroneous information.

After months of speculation, Apple has announced the iPhone 5.   The new device supports “cellular wideband audio” and “over” 20 carriers will support the service at product launch, according to Apple’s press release.  In addition, Apple has rolled in three (3) microphones for some interesting audio tricks previously found on higher end conference speaker phones.

A formal list of carriers supporting HD voice isn’t yet available, but it appears HD voice will be supported both on GSM/HSPA and LTE networks using the AMR-WB codec.  Details aren’t yet available for the configuration of Sprint’s iPhone 5; if the handset is a dual-mode CDMA/LTE device, then support should be availabe for both AMR-WB and Qualcomm’s 3G CDMA EVRC-NW codec.

Adding a third microphone to the iPhone 5 – the iPhone 4 and 4 S have two mics – means Apple can do beam-forming directional tricks for higher quality sound on voice calls, as well as conducing better echo cancellation and noise filtering.  With a third microphone, the IPhone 5 should take advantage of whatever sound processing technology it incorporates to differentiate  between near-field (i.e. speaking into the phone) and far field (i.e. background) sound, lowering or even removing far field sound.

No word yet if HD voice support is limited to the iPhone 5, or if Apple will slip it iOS 6 for the iPhone 4 and 4 S.  It is likely that HD voice support will be a premium feature for the iPhone 5 so that Apple can sell more handsets and service providers can get more contract renewals.

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