The 4G Lie

March 29, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Apple helped reduce the amount of meaningless statistics thrown about when it came to gadgets. Things like gigahertz, megapixels, and even gigabytes, don’t mean what people think they do. But by marketing the iPad as 4G Apple has taken a step back argues Farhad Manjoo who believes that the 3G/4G label should be dropped entirely. Here’s why:

  • A wireless standard known as HSPA+ was referred to as 3G for most of recent history, because it was the third generation of wireless technology.
  • When LTE came about it was referred to as 4G because it was the fourth generation. LTE was initially much faster than HSPA+.
  • However engineers figured out how to make HSPA+ even faster than LTE in theory. This now meant that in the future a 3G device would be faster than a 4G device. To solve this, companies were allowed to refer to their HSPA+ networks as 4G.
  • The problem though is that while HSPA+ can theoretically be faster than LTE, it currently is not. Therefore Apple’s customers were mislead into thinking their iPhones got faster when the 3G label was replaced with the 4G label in the latest upgrade. The speed remained the same, all that changed was the label.

To read more on why somebody selling you a 4G device “thinks you’re a fool”, why AT&T criticized others when they first took the decision that it is emulating now, and why even true 4G doesn’t mean anything anyway, click here.

Source: Slate