Apple's latest products add support for Japan's GPS successor QZSS

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has made a minor change to the specification its latest mobile products --?the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 -- adding support for Japan's regional satellite positioning system QZSS, alongside existing support for GPS and GLONASS.




Support for QZSS was revealed via changes to Apple's website in Japan, as first spotted by local Apple enthusiast site Macotakara. It appears support for QZSS is limited to iPhones and Apple Watches sold in Japan, with references to QZSS not appearing in iPhone 7 specification pages in other nearby regions.

The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a regional positioning service that aims to provide Japan and the surrounding area with more accurate location data in the future, using a collection of satellites looping in an asymmetrical figure-8 pattern above the country. As at least one satellite is meant to be directly above Japan at a time, QZSS can help mitigate issues caused by "urban canyons," where the presence of multiple tall buildings in a city prevent GPS from functioning normally.




Working in tandem with traditional GPS satellites, QZSS also allows supported devices to work out its location at a faster speed. While it can take GPS somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute to function properly, QZSS can cut the time down to 15 seconds in some instances.

While the system currently only uses one satellite, three more are expected to launch this year, with the four-satellite system expected to be fully operational in 2018.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus join only a handful of smartphones compatible with QZSS, and there is a possibility Apple will add iPads to the list of tablets supporting the positioning system in a future update.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    Very interesting.  First I've heard of a national alternative to GPS.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 677member
    North Korea will be extra antsy now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Wasn't Apple working on positioning tech that was precise to one foot?

    This would help with Maps and "find" for iPhones, Airpods etc.

    Example if you lost your iPhone instead of being alerted that it's on your property somewhere it could narrow it down to under your couch.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Very interesting.  First I've heard of a national alternative to GPS.
    Europe has a planned 30 satellite next gen system called Galileo with 14 operational deployed so far and 4 in testing phase. Precision one metre for public use and one centimetre encrypted. 
    I trust Apple are building in the necessary IDs for EU iPhones ...given this news. I know it's happening on the Android side. 
  • Reply 5 of 7
    ShiviShivi Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Well India has already opretionalized it's own regional navigation and positioning system called NAVI with 8 satallites in constellation last year. Hope Apple adds support soon.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,733member
    Sounds like a lot of new standards. Are they cross compatible at all, or are Apple going to need to support a GPS successor technology for every country they sell in?
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 7 of 7
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,766member
    While the system currently only uses one satellite, three more are expected to launch this year, with the four-satellite system expected to be fully operational in 2018. 
    How does it work with only one satellite? GPS needs three to map your 2-D position and four to plot your location in 3-D.
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