Russia surprised as Apple uses Glonass in new iPhone

Oct 20, 2011
An Apple Store customer looks at the new Apple iPhone 4Gs on October 14 in San Francisco, California. The secret is out and making Russia proud: pop culture and geek tech icon Apple has picked Russia's Glonass navigation system to run alongside GPS in its iPhone 4S models that hit stores this month.

The secret is out and making Russia proud: pop culture and geek tech icon Apple has picked Russia's Glonass navigation system to run alongside GPS in its iPhone 4S models that hit stores this month.

The news was not exactly hidden by the California-based firm. A scan through the "specs" page on the Apple website shows Glonass sitting conspicuously next to GPS in the global positioning column.

But the news has created a sensation on the Russian Internet and made the front page of the respected Vedomosti business daily on Thursday.

"If the iPhone 4S really does have Glonass navigation," the paper said in a disbelieving tone, "this would be the first time the Russian system reached the world market."

It then quoted a company spokesman as saying that the phones became 50 percent more reliable with the Russian invention on board.

Vedomosti said basic Glonass documentation has the same open access as GPS. The basic is also being honed for more precise military use not available to consumers.

The has struggled through many delays and cost overruns that was additionally hurt last year by the loss of three satellites in a botched .

Glonass is less precise than its rival but relies on a different set of satellites that could work in some cities where the US system is less effective.

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User comments : 2

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jmlvu
not rated yet Oct 21, 2011
I found GPS frequently failed in central Mexico(Plus Garmin maps lack any detail). Anyone know why this happens?
Grizzled
not rated yet Oct 27, 2011
GPS (as well as the Russian and budding European systems) depends critically on the signals it needs to get directly from satellites. This obviously means that its performance is subject to visibility and coverage issues. The more (and better) satellites it can "see" from where you are - the better. Apple might have added GLONASS support for exactly this reason - presumably, the Russian system may provide better coverage in some areas within the country where GPS may not be at its best.

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