MacRumors have just discovered that Apple has updated the tech specs page of iPhone 4S to note that the new iPhone offers not only assisted GPS but also GLONASS.
According to Wikipedia, GLONASS acronym for Globalnaya navigatsionnaya sputnikovaya sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System, is a radio-based satellite navigation system operated for the Russian government by the Russian Space Forces. It is an alternative and complement to the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), the Chinese Compass navigation system and the planned Galileo positioning system of the European Union.
Just two weeks ago, Russia launched the last of 24 satellites required for global location coverage, setting the stage to restore GLONASS to its full operational status that had been lost amid economic turmoil in the country during the late 1990s.
Far from being a Russia-only service, some current global positioning hardware and software is capable of utilizing both GPS and GLONASS satellite information to provide more accurate geolocation information with faster acquisition times. We have reached out to Apple for comment on whether the iPhone 4S can in fact take advantage of satellites from both systems on a worldwide basis, as it is unclear from the tech specs whether this is the case, but have yet to receive a response.
Screenshot from iPhone 4S Tech Specs page on Apple’s U.S. website
It needs to be seen if Apple will be supporting GLONASS only in the U.S or in other launch countries, as currently Apple has only updated the tech specs page on the U.S. website, while the corresponding page in other iPhone 4S launch countries still saying that iPhone 4S supports only Assisted GPS.