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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:05 PM   #1
crackbookpro
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Question GLONASS in the new iPhone 5?

Anyone know why the russian alternative to GPS is found in the new iPhone?

Is it superior than GPS? Does the new Apple Maps in iOS 6 rely on GLONASS data now as well as GPS?

I knew it was in the iPhone 4s, but is Apple going to now benefit from it somehow...
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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It was in the 4S as well. It's in there because two positioning systems together can locate you faster and better then one. GLONASS works better at the polls than GPS.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by crackbookpro View Post
Anyone know why the russian alternative to GPS is found in the new iPhone?

Is it superior than GPS?
Glonass support started in the 4S. I don't think it's about being superior but yet being another complementary technology to GNSS.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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It was in the 4S as well. It's in there because two positioning systems together can locate you faster and better then one. GLONASS works better at the polls than GPS.
Is a fair ? to ask...

Is GLONASS superior always when not having a cell tower near to utilize A-GPS? I'm trying to understand your comment at the end.

Will GLONASS chime in specific areas in the states ever? I understand GPS and the difference with A-GPS, but I don't fully understand the pros/cons to include GLONASS...
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:26 PM   #5
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A-GPS is GPS. It just uses the cell towers for a quicker initial fix. It can and does become regular slow GPS when there are no cell towers around. GLONASS works better in Earth's polar regions. In the US, you may find better location in northern Alaska. Other then that, it does offer better accuracy and a quicker lock on your location. There was a YouTube video of an iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on a road and the 4S was locked on almost the entire time. The 4 would stop and bounce around a lot. This is a benefit of the GLONASS support.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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A-GPS is GPS. It just uses the cell towers for a quicker initial fix. It can and does become regular slow GPS when there are no cell towers around. GLONASS works better in Earth's polar regions. In the US, you may find better location in northern Alaska. Other then that, it does offer better accuracy and a quicker lock on your location. There was a YouTube video of an iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on a road and the 4S was locked on almost the entire time. The 4 would stop and bounce around a lot. This is a benefit of the GLONASS support.
The GPS chip found inside your phone is different than the one you would in a car, boat, or plane... you do realiza that?

So, I will ask this - why does/could GLONASS work better in "polar" areas?
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 07:03 PM   #7
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The better question is why not? GLONASS is the Russian equivalent to GPS. Just as our GPS system was made by the Air Force, their's was made by what was then, The Red Army. iPhones are used all over the world now, and in some areas, (like Russia) GLONASS works better, and it is a newer system too, with the last satellite launched recently, while the GPS system was completed in like 1994. It's free for civilian use like GPS so why the hell not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLONASS
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 07:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by crackbookpro View Post
The GPS chip found inside your phone is different than the one you would in a car, boat, or plane... you do realiza that?

So, I will ask this - why does/could GLONASS work better in "polar" areas?
You do realize it can and does preform the exact same tasks even though it isn't the same chip. The only difference is the ones in most phones can use cellular signals. In fact, some of the more expensive aviation ones can use cellular signals as well for that quicker initial lock.

It works better in the polar regions because that's how Russia designed it to work because that's where Russia is. It works better because of how the satellites are put into orbit.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by crackbookpro View Post
Is a fair ? to ask...

Is GLONASS superior always when not having a cell tower near to utilize A-GPS? I'm trying to understand your comment at the end.

Will GLONASS chime in specific areas in the states ever? I understand GPS and the difference with A-GPS, but I don't fully understand the pros/cons to include GLONASS...
GLONASS is actually much more useful up here in Alaska than GPS, because of the additional coverage at Alaskan latitudes. The GPS system is really optimized for coverage from roughly Edmonton's latitude down, and really doesn't offer a lot of coverage in Alaska, especially above the Arctic Circle.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:32 PM   #10
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The better question is why not? GLONASS is the Russian equivalent to GPS. Just as our GPS system was made by the Air Force, their's was made by what was then, The Red Army. iPhones are used all over the world now, and in some areas, (like Russia) GLONASS works better, and it is a newer system too, with the last satellite launched recently, while the GPS system was completed in like 1994. It's free for civilian use like GPS so why the hell not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLONASS
The better ? is when(& why)?... I would like to know what true advantage it gave/gives. They didn't market this, which is why I am notorious to ask even more questions. Was first introduced into the iPhone 4S... but we never found out where advantages took/take place commonly.

So why not - simple answer is cost of the chip. There are too many answers to why not, but Apple does things for a reason, and when they did it is more interesting to me of 'why not' as there many reasons of why not. Why they did it & when is what I really want to know more than anything? What are the true advantages, and if they are indeed making the GNSS better for global-use I understand the simplistic way that this is better, but I'd bet there is more to it... more or less, I am wondering if the new Maps App from Apple will somehow utilize this more than some may first glance at.

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You do realize it can and does preform the exact same tasks even though it isn't the same chip. The only difference is the ones in most phones can use cellular signals. In fact, some of the more expensive aviation ones can use cellular signals as well for that quicker initial lock.

It works better in the polar regions because that's how Russia designed it to work because that's where Russia is. It works better because of how the satellites are put into orbit.
There is a lot more to GPS vs A-GPS than you think Intell. And, the chips inside a car with Navi or a portable TomTom GPS Unit are entirely different than what is inside your phone. I am now skeptic of your knowledge about the subject matter.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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So now not only can the US govt track me, but the Russians as well?
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:51 PM   #12
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There is a lot more to GPS vs A-GPS than you think Intell. And, the chips inside a car with Navi or a portable TomTom GPS Unit are entirely different than what is inside your phone. I am now skeptic of your knowledge about the subject matter.
I never said they were the same chip. I only stated most A-GPS chips can do the same as a GPS chip. Please do enlighten the whole of MacRumors with your bucket deep knowledge of GPS.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:13 PM   #13
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The reason it is there is because the capability is built into the GPS chipset used by Apple in the iPhone 4s and 5. It's built in because Russia requires GLONASS compatibility for any GPS device imported these days or it faces a 25% import tariff. Since it apparently wasn't too difficult to include it, all of the major GPS chip makers do, so device manufacturers don't have to have Russia specific models just to avoid the GLONASS import tariff.

So, like most things, the reason it's there is simple: money

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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by crackbookpro View Post

There is a lot more to GPS vs A-GPS than you think Intell. And, the chips inside a car with Navi or a portable TomTom GPS Unit are entirely different than what is inside your phone. I am now skeptic of your knowledge about the subject matter.
Actually TomTom was using exact same chip found in the iPhone, the Broadcom BCM4750, up until they switched to the Broadcom GoGPS. The vast majority of consumer navigation devices made recently use single-chip GPS, most from Broadcom.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:35 PM   #15
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The reason it is there is because the capability is built into the GPS chipset used by Apple in the iPhone 4gs and 5. It's built in because Russia requires GLONASS compatibility for any GPS device imported these days or it faces a 25% import tariff. Since it apparently wasn't too difficult to include it, all of the major GPS chip makers do, so device manufacturers don't have to have Russia specific models just to avoid the GLONASS import tariff.

So, like most things, the reason it's there is simple: money
Appreciate your post/answer. I found about the tariff about an hour ago from an article written last summer when I guess GLONASS was finalized with the last satellite, and I do believe that was the reason they first introduced it in the iPhone 4s, so they would not be taxed when dealing with the phone in Russia. I still wonder if it improves accuracy nonetheless or something else we are not thinking. Some skeptics say areas could be more accurate in polar areas, but I have no proof of either. Even some on this thread said the same thing...

Also, I know the distribution was already planned with chip manufacturers - Qualcomm had chips manufactured with GLONASS already for popular distribution a couple years back waiting on the 24th/final satellite of GLONASS to be put into orbit summer of 2011, but I still wonder if there is something else that remains to be seen.

The tariff is definitely the initial reason, but I do believe there is more to it than just money... maybe not, but Apple's history makes me think otherwise.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:37 PM   #16
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All this means is that you get your location information faster as there's more satellites to connect to.

GPS+GLONASS+ cell/wifi triangulation = more accuracy.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:47 PM   #17
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All this means is that you get your location information faster as there's more satellites to connect to.

GPS+GLONASS+ cell/wifi triangulation = more accuracy.
So, do you believe that when Galileo from Europe comes out & China's compass GNSS - will we see them inside iPhones because Apple believe it can improve accuracy?

I wonder if Apple was scared of the tariff from Russia, and it was a pure business decision about money, or was there features factored in that time will only tell.

Kind of messed up of Russia to impose a 25% tariff on phones without GLONASS, but I guess it's/that's Russia.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 11:04 PM   #18
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Appreciate your post/answer. I found about the tariff about an hour ago from an article written last summer when I guess GLONASS was finalized with the last satellite, and I do believe that was the reason they first introduced it in the iPhone 4s, so they would not be taxed when dealing with the phone in Russia. I still wonder if it improves accuracy nonetheless or something else we are not thinking. Some skeptics say areas could be more accurate in polar areas, but I have no proof of either. Even some on this thread said the same thing...

Also, I know the distribution was already planned with chip manufacturers - Qualcomm had chips manufactured with GLONASS already for popular distribution a couple years back waiting on the 24th/final satellite of GLONASS to be put into orbit summer of 2011, but I still wonder if there is something else that remains to be seen.

The tariff is definitely the initial reason, but I do believe there is more to it than just money... maybe not, but Apple's history makes me think otherwise.
It's not just Apple. The G3 has GLONASS + GPS as well. You're going to see it more and more until it will pretty much become the norm. I suspect in the future Galileo and possibly Compass (probably via tariff threat from China) will get incorporated into most GPS chipsets as well.

As for the advantages, this explains it pretty well: http://www.oxts.com/default.asp?pageRef=134

It makes sense that GLONASS has better polar coverage, it was built by Russians and they operate more in the arctic region than we do. All the US military really cared about for positioning up there when the GPS system was first designed were ICBMs, bombers, and subs: none of which use GPS anyway.

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Old Sep 26, 2012, 11:20 PM   #19
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So, do you believe that when Galileo from Europe comes out & China's compass GNSS - will we see them inside iPhones because Apple believe it can improve accuracy?
Depends on multiple factors:

1. How easy or difficult it will be to add the capability to use these systems, bearing in mind that each one effectively requires additional reception and processing circuitry, may affect power consumption, and must fit in ever-thinner and lighter form factors,

2. Whether adding this capability will actually improve position accuracy or acquisition times. There are instances where having too much data from multiple independent sources can potentially decrease the "sanity level" of a system processing that data, and if not handled easily enough, this may reduce accuracy or increase the time it takes to get a fix.

3. Probably: Whether or not the host countries for these new positioning systems will impose restrictions or tariffs on goods not using those systems. And, whether the expense of adding support for them outweighs the cost of those tariffs.

Also note that Galileo, as proposed, comes in two levels of accuracy: a free version that provides low-precision and limited accuracy, and a paid/military version that offer high precision. How accurate the free version is, and whether it's better or worse than existing GLONASS/GPS and proposed COMPASS accuracy, will probably affect whether it gets used.

Quote:
I wonder if Apple was scared of the tariff from Russia, and it was a pure business decision about money, or was there features factored in that time will only tell.
My question is, why does it matter so much? The functionality is there and it works well, and there's little doubt that if offers an improvement to all users regardless of whether they're Russian or not. Sometimes, that's a good enough reason, and if the end result is only positive, then there's little reason to go finding ulterior motives.

It could also be just as simple as this: the chipsets selected for this purpose had GLONASS support whether Apple wanted it or not. So, it just made sense to use it.

Quote:
Kind of messed up of Russia to impose a 25% tariff on phones without GLONASS, but I guess it's/that's Russia.
Yep, that's Russia for you.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 11:08 AM   #20
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My question is, why does it matter so much? The functionality is there and it works well, and there's little doubt that if offers an improvement to all users regardless of whether they're Russian or not. Sometimes, that's a good enough reason, and if the end result is only positive, then there's little reason to go finding ulterior motives.

It could also be just as simple as this: the chipsets selected for this purpose had GLONASS support whether Apple wanted it or not. So, it just made sense to use it.
Does it matter so much(to me)? Not really, but the biggest issue phone companies will make in conjunction with GPS chip manufacturers is how they help battery life or the need for power to get signals(or more accurate/faster signals) to the receiver for whatever the mobile needs are.

So, to answer your question a little more, I wonder if the battery life will be tarnished as the new/future chips come out with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and China's Compass in one chip? The single-chip debuting by Broadcom & Qualcomm helped the game tremendously in battery consumption, and I wonder the pros/cons because battery consumption is a main priority for the iPhone or any smartphone to to have A-GPS and not solely GPS for its GNSS solution. It isn't just about the accuracy A-GPS provides - the chips utilized for mobile GPS need GPS chips that utilize better battery consumption. The initial fix on the GPS coordinate take a lot of battery(why A-GPS is mostly needed for mobiles) life, so...

I think some of the biggest breakthroughs in this entire smartphone business/market are simply happening now indirectly by Qualcomm & Broadcom when we all know - Apple gets all the hype for software updates & these new iPhones.

In the future, I am wondering if these chips become so sophisticated then there will be no need for cellular connectivity to achieve a fast/accurate GNSS position. The chips manufactured lately for A-GPS are becoming more prevalent in an array of markets now, and they are harnessing better/faster accuracy with less battery consumption & less need for assisted-GPS... this is where I am getting...

Will the iPod Touch eventually get GPS? ...seems it may become a feasible solution sooner than later because Qualcomm & Broadcom are making ways towards this happening, but I believe Apple will never allow it, because it would compete with the iPhone on such a big feature & create a product line issue.

The Apple Maps app is going to be what may win the war for Apple in a couple years over Google, and the chips coming from Qualcomm/Broadcom may have everything to do with it.

The other mess I see is - if Qualcomm/Broadcom starts pushing for portable GPS solutions without the need for A-GPS/cellular connectivity, Android/Google will release something to match the iPod in the MP3 market that Apple saturates.

This chips play a huge part in where the phone is going... and I see Apple potentially losing to Android in this Map War, but I also foresee Apple making leaps in transportation around the world that we never realized, and eventually Apple may win yet again because of 'user-experience/customer satisfaction'.

Google will give you the best specs it can in the market, and Apple will always try to give you the best experience, but in the same time, they are trying to 'change' markets. The Map market will change because of Apple... I give it 18months.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 11:12 AM   #21
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I should add it doesn't matter how many satellites you throw into space, as long as we have Apple maps, it will always be inaccurate
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 11:17 AM   #22
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I should add it doesn't matter how many satellites you throw into space, as long as we have Apple maps, it will always be inaccurate
Like that post... it got me my first laugh at the desk today. Damn Apple stubbornness...
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 11:33 AM   #23
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The reason it is there is because the capability is built into the GPS chipset used by Apple in the iPhone 4s and 5. It's built in because Russia requires GLONASS compatibility for any GPS device imported these days or it faces a 25% import tariff. Since it apparently wasn't too difficult to include it, all of the major GPS chip makers do, so device manufacturers don't have to have Russia specific models just to avoid the GLONASS import tariff.

So, like most things, the reason it's there is simple: money
This man has the right answer.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 04:25 PM   #24
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Answer to, What is GLONASS for Mobile Phones and How it is different from GPRS.

GLONASS is an acronym, which stands for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, or Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is Russia’s version of GPS (Global Position System).

Who built it?
Soviet Union started the development of GLONASS in 1976. GLONASS is the most expensive program of the Russian Federal Space Agency, consuming a third of its budget in 2010.

GPS developed by USA has a network of 31 satellites covering this planet and has been widely used in commercial devices like mobile phones, navigators etc.

GLONASS is developed by Russia originally started by Soviet Union in 1976. This has a network of 24 satellites covering the earth.

Read More here. What is GLONASS in Mobile Phones
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