Editorial: Thanks, I guess, Apple iPhone 5

This week was the busiest ever for the HD Voice News website. Probably be busy today thanks to the Forbes article written by Elise Ackerman, “Why iPhone 5’s Support For HD Voice Will Mean Nothing To U.S. Users.”

Apple’s (belated) rollout of HD voice support in the iPhone 5 has (finally) kicked of a discussion about how and when HD voice will be delivered to U.S. customers. It has also trigged a round of uncertainty and doubt as to what exactly the iPhone 5 is capable of when it comes to wideband voice.

Will the iPhone 5 support Voice over LTE (VoLTE)? Some of my sources are saying it doesn’t currently, but to add the capability is a software/iOS issue – not hardware.  But if the Android people figured it out a year ago, why should it be so hard for Apple today?

I suspect that some of the “compromises” Apple had to make to get the iPhone 5 out the door revolve around VoLTE, but maybe not.   We’ll learn more later this month when the iPhone 5 starts shipping in South Korea since VoLTE is a Big Deal there.

Having started to promote HD voice back in the spring and committed to buy millions of iPhones over a multi-year period, Sprint now find itself rolling out the latest iPhone without HD voice “at this time.”

Evidence suggests the Qualcomm silicon in the iPhone 5 has CDMA HD voice support rolled in, so HD voice on Sprint’s CDMA network may also be a software development issue.  It does speak to Apple’s clout and Sprint’s lack thereof that Sprint doesn’t have CDMA HD voice support “at this time,” regardless if it can be implemented via a software release.

On the bright side of this equation, the GSM-HSPA world outside of the U.S. gets iPhone 5s with HD voice support rolling from day one with 20 carriers happily selling the phones.  Telstra has officially declared its iPhone 5 will support HD voice and I need to do a deeper parse of the list verify that it’s all HSPA networks and there’s no under-the-wire VoLTE that’s creeped in.

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