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Apple iOS 6.1 Boosts iPhone LTE Support

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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Apple’s iOS 6.1 adds LTE support for an additional 36 mobile phone networks, for a total of 56 worldwide

Apple is now offering iOS 6.1, an update to the operating system that launched with the iPhone 5. The main reason for the update is that it adds Long Term Evolution (LTE) support to 36 additional iPhone carriers worldwide – or now 56 total.

While faster browsing speeds are certainly reason enough for an update, Apple threw in two other perks – or at least two others it feels like mentioning.

Siri film tickets

“Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the US through Fandango, and iTunes Matches subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud,” Apple said in a 28 January statement.

“iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in the statement.

original iphoneiOS 6 also included one of the biggest gaffes in Apple’s recent history – a Maps app so bad that executives were reportedly let go because of it and chief executive Tim Cook was compelled to publicly apologise for it, saying that it didn’t meet Apple standards and customers deserved better.

Apple has offered no word on when it might offer an iOS 6 update with an improved Maps app. Cook did, however, recently address rumours that Apple has cut back on orders to its component suppliers – or rather, rumours about what those cuts mean.

“I don’t want to comment on any particular rumour because I would spend my life doing that,” Cook said during Apple’s 23 January earnings call. He continued:

“But I would suggest that it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumour about build plans and also stress that even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it means for our business, because the supply chain is very complex and we obviously have multiple sources for things, yields might vary, supply performance can vary, the beginning inventory positions can vary. I mean, there is just an inordinately long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on.”

Low-cost iPhone?

While Cook’s speech may have slowed talk about Apple having passed its peak (despite setting record-setting revenue during its last quarter), it did nothing to deter rumours.

iLounge offered the most-detailed rumours to date, blogging on 28 January that the rumoured low-cost, “ready for China” iPhone won’t just be an iPhone 3GS with a Lightning port and a Retina display, but a cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch and the classic iPod.

“It will have a 4-inch screen, like the iPhone 5, a bottom like the latest iPod Touch, and a shape that’s most similar to the iPod classic,” the site reported.

The phone – which could help solve the issue of Apple needing a solid share of China’s smartphone market but the iPhone being beyond the budgets of many Chinese consumers – will be just a half-millimetre taller and wider than the iPhone 5, likely have a plastic chassis and feature a screen that extends slightly from the device.

“It won’t make any bold departures from past Apple designs,” concluded iLounge, “but then, it’s supposed to be an inexpensive iPhone and achieves that goal pretty much as expected.”

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Originally published on eWeek.