Beginning on April 12th, Apple Retail Stores will be selling a slightly-modified A1428 model of its flagship iPhone 5, featuring support for AWS bands. According to Engadget, facilitating Advanced Wireless Services is something requiring slightly re-jigged hardware and thus, those wielding the older model of iPhone 5 cannot enjoy the benefits by means of a software update.
As we learned earlier, T-Mobile will finally begin carrying the iPhone 5 on the very same day as this new, slightly-tweaked iPhone makes its way to Apple Stores. Thus, we can be certain that, alongside the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, T-Mobile will be offering the AWS variant of the iPhone 5 from the get-go. Naturally, the A1428 iPhone 5 will look no different to the currently available model, and will retail as unlocked / SIM-free.
Those looking to signup with T-Mobile will be able to do so from right within Apple’s Retail outlets from 12th April, with a $99 upfront cost and 24 months at $20 a pop certainly appealing to those on a smaller budget. Apparently, Apple is moving AT&T sales onto the newer model as well, so those looking to sign on the dotted line with America’s largest wireless carrier should have no problems doing so from the 12th.
A slew of mobile operators use AWS, and while a large number of smartphone manufacturers offer devices featuring radios capable of communicating using the AWS spectrum, the iPhone 5 has, hitherto, not been one of them. It’s a minor enhancement, but noteworthy nonetheless, and if you were planning on purchasing an iPhone 5 in the next month or so, you may want to wait until 12th before going out there and parting with your dollars.
The timing of Apple bringing this AWS-compliant device makes you wonder whether Apple planned the move long in advance. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is just upon the horizon (carried also by T-Mobile), and although the carrier’s long-awaited deal with the fruit company to carry the iPhone has just been confirmed, a "tweaked" device is always going to become a talking point in smartphone-buying circles.
That said, the new Galaxy is at least half a generation ahead of its Cupertino rival, and AWS or not, the iPhone will struggle to stop its fiercest rival from selling in vast quantities. And for those who are fans of AT&T’s LTE network, the new tweaked iPhone 5 will run on AT&T with full support for LTE without a hitch, so that’s a big golden point for consumers out there.