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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple yesterday quietly updated its iPhone 4S tech specs page to note that the device offers not only Assisted GPS but also GLONASS, the Russian version of GPS.

iphone_4s_glonass.png



Just two weeks ago, Russia launched the last of 24 satellites required for global location coverage, setting the stage to restore GLONASS to its full operational status that had been lost amid economic turmoil in the country during the late 1990s.

Far from being a Russia-only service, some current global positioning hardware and software is capable of utilizing both GPS and GLONASS satellite information to provide more accurate geolocation information with faster acquisition times. We have reached out to Apple for comment on whether the iPhone 4S can in fact take advantage of satellites from both systems on a worldwide basis, as it is unclear from the tech specs whether this is the case, but have yet to receive a response.

Notably, only the tech specs page on the U.S. site has been updated to mention GLONASS capabilities, with the corresponding page in other iPhone 4S launch countries still listing only Assisted GPS as the device's satellite location service.

(Thanks, Jesse Perry!)

Article Link: Apple Expands iPhone 4S GPS Capabilities with GLONASS Support
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
6,462
10,529
Florida, USA
It's nice to have two systems to rely on for position data. It's always been a bit worrying that GPS is the only one; what if the US government decided to be paranoid and shut it down, or make it less accurate?

Now TWO countries have to be stupid to rob us from location data.
 
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rcappo

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2010
259
42
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.
 
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BruiserB

macrumors 68000
Aug 9, 2008
1,631
539
Presumably this is because Russia has proposed a 25% import duty on devices that support GPS but not GLONASS. Most GPS chip suppliers have updated to support GLONASS, so Apple just needs to turn it on.
 
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Northgrove

macrumors 65816
Aug 3, 2010
1,133
417
This complementary navigation satellite system could actually give its GPS a shortened Time to first fix (TTFF) in some cases, or improve reception/accuracy when the conditions aren't all too great. :) GLONASS coverage is global.
 
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57004

Cancelled
Aug 18, 2005
1,022
339
I wander if it will support Gallilio when that comes online?

I wouldn't think so... It's far from becoming online so I wouldn't think there's any off-the-shelf chipsets for it yet. It wouldn't make sense yet at this stage.

According to wikipedia it's slated for basic introduction in 2014 and full completion in 2019, but I'd be surprised if Europe's current economic problems don't have any impact on that timeline due to funding problems.

In any case, even if it did support it, it would be useless until some time in 2014 at the earliest :)
 
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Nungster

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
189
11
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.

I may be wrong about this, but if you purchase an app like Magellan's GPS, then you get maps downloaded to your device.

My pure GPS device has maps stored locally, as it should, which is one reason these folks are still in business.
 
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Aduntu

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2010
599
1
I remember the days when "reached out" wasn't overused like it is now.
 
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Laird Knox

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2010
1,877
1,172
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.

Yes but I bet that blue dot was accurate to within thee feet? ;)
 
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kerryn

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2007
114
0
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.

Use MotionX GPS and pre-cache the terrain maps. It's a wonderful app and I use it all the time while biking in the Rockies off the network.

I think it would be great to have an alternative location service. I use my iPhone4 to track all my routes which I then use to update the OpenCycleMap with mountain bike trails in the Rockies. Anything that may aid accuracy is okay in my book.
 
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1080p

macrumors 68030
Mar 17, 2010
2,859
2,530
Planet Earth
We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.

Oh shut up! I am tired of hearing this crap. Really. The design that iPhone 4 gave us is ahead of it's time. So was the unibody Macbook Pro. They continue to use that design with internal spec bumps... so why can't the iPhone do this as well. I dunno about you, but I just don't see any company making smartphones as beautiful as the iPhone 4/4S with almost entirely glass externals and external antenna design. Antennagate aside, as long as you don't bridge that corner of the phone, iPhone 4 had the best reception of any iPhone.. and the 4S is even better while eliminating Antennagate!
 
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Earendil

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2003
1,549
0
Washington
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

rcappo said:
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.

Search the store for USGS maps. Grab some names and go review them. There are some pretty slick apps out there that let you view ALL USGS survey data available when you have a connection, and let's you save sections of it to local storage. I used it to great success backpacking the Goat Rocks here in the Cascade Mountains. I would advise a paper map as well though. I really wanted my small screen to be my only map, but it was too hard to share the map, and reorient myself every time I loaded it up. But, having a GPS dot on a USGC map? Friggin awesome and a huge bonus to making on-the-fly changes to a trips route.
 
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poloponies

Suspended
May 3, 2010
2,661
1,366
The iPhone4S GPS did work for me last weekend in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The problem is that it doesn't have any way that I know of to pre-cache the maps, and for some reason I can't "install" an off-line version and take up 5-10 GB of local memory (Or use a bluetooth type of SSD hard drive with 256GB of Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, or any other map). So I was just a blue dot in a field of gray.

Try YouNeedAMap in the App store. 1.8GB. Shows contours and natural features. Not the prettiest map, but it works.
 
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Huracan

macrumors 6502
Jan 9, 2007
294
166
We didn't need an expanded GPS capabilities, we need an redesign.

Come on, the current design is beautiful :) I'm serious. It is like the MacBook or the iMac, would you expect a radical redesign every year. Stay on topic. I'm sure there are a bunch of other threads where you can express your disappointment. What do you think about GLONASS support? Do you have to use your GPS in cities like New York, Los Angeles, etc. with high rises? I think a lot of people are going to be happy with the updated support. I actually have to get my foot out of my mouth as I wasn't expecting GLONASS support in the iPhone for a while. I thought it would lead to more battery consumption and there was no clamor for it. On the other hand I would understand that Russia would put pressure on Apple to support it if Apple wants to sell phones in Russia.
 
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