Since the launch of iOS 9.3 last week, some Sprint users have been unable to connect to LTE networks, according to reports on Twitter and reddit. After updating, affected users say their iPhones will only connect 3G, and there appears to be no clear fix with resets and reinstalls not solving the problem for most people.
According to one reddit user in California, he’s having issues when his iPhone attempts to connect to a specific LTE band. Affected users are frustrated with the connectivity problems, with some reporting an inability to receive any messages or updates when not on Wi-Fi. Most users seeing problems appear to be using Apple’s latest devices.
I’m having data issues as well on my 6s Plus in the LA/OC market. Over the past three days I’ve been troubleshooting on my 80 mile round trip commute via Field Test and Speedtest. I’ve figured out that data transfer is broken when connected to Clear B41. No problems on Sprint B41, B25 or EVDO. I’ve created a ticket with Sprint Care, and supposedly they have notified their network team. I’m awaiting a response.
I’ve talked to Apple as well, they did a diagnostic test that came up normal…of course it did, because I was not connected to Clear B41 at the time. At this point, the only course of action is to either disable LTE or revert back to 9.2.1 before Apple stops signing it. I’m not sure if this has to do with the WiMAX shutdown in my market, but I have noticed that the TAC went from 9xxx to 3xxxx after the shutdown. I’ve restored three times via iTunes to no avail.
As of this afternoon, Sprint has begun sending out text messages to its subscriber base, acknowledging the data connection problem. Sprint says that it is aware of the issue and “working quickly” on a fix.
Apple this morning released an iOS 9.3.1 update with a fix for an unrelated web linking bug, and while it’s not clear if the new update fixes the Sprint issue, it’s unlikely as Sprint’s text messages were sent out after the update was released.
Rumors have suggested the iPhone 7 will be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6s, and a new report from Korean site ETNews shares some technical details on the methods Apple may use to save space internally and shave off precious fractions of a millimeter from the device’s size.
Apple is said to be planning to use a new fan-out packaging technology for the antenna switching module and radio frequency chip in the iPhone 7, which is a feature that allows the iPhone to switch between LTE and other antennas like GSM and CDMA. Fan-out packaging technology allows for a greater number of I/O terminals while cutting down on chip size.
A mockup of what the iPhone 7 might look like
Fan Out technology is a technology that increases number of I/O (Input/Output) terminals within a package by pulling out wiring of I/O terminals to outside from a semiconductor chip (Die), which is a previous step before packaging. As area of a chip had become narrower as manufacturing processes had become finer, it was difficult to increase number of I/O terminals. Because industries do not want to increase size of a chip just for I/O terminals, they have been paying attention to Fan Out Packaging technology recently. It is most cost effective from production cost perspective if number of I/O terminals increases within a package while still decreasing size of a chip.
Using this packaging method, along with single-chip EMI shields, Apple will be able to fit more components into a single package while minimizing signal loss and also cutting down on the potential for interference in wireless communication. The radio frequency chip built into the antenna switching module is said to include two chips in one package rather than two chips built into a printed circuit board to save space.
Apple’s iPhone 7 is expected to launch in the fall of 2016. Rumors about the device suggest it will look similar to the iPhone 6s, but with redesigned antenna bands and a somewhat thinner chassis. Along with the chip packaging techniques shared today, Apple is rumored to be cutting down on the size of the device through the removal of the headphone jack and the slimming of the Lightning port.