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In an update to the handset's published specifications, Apple added GLONASS capability to Assisted GPS and cellular location finding, reports Russian website iPhones.ru. The site noted that the iPhone 4S may be using a new Broadcom chipset to communicate with the satellite location system.
Although Russia's GLONASS is not as accurate as its U.S. counterpart, it can work in concert with established positioning systems to give users extended coverage in the Northern Hemisphere. By combining location data from the two dozen Russian satellites with U.S. GPS's 31, accuracy and speed of determining a user's location are greatly increased.
GLONASS, or Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (Global Navigation Satellite System), offers location data to 100% of the Russian Federation with limited worldwide coverage. The radio-based satellite network was launched in 1982 but only achieved global coverage earlier this month, when the last of 24 satellites was launched into orbit.
The news comes on the heels of Tuesday's conference call, where Apple CEO Tim Cook drew attention to the Russian market as "looking promising." The Cupertino, Calif. company's devices are becoming more prevalent in the country, with the iPhone exposing more customers to other Apple products, he said.
GLONAS Class M satellite | source: Vector One
As such, GLONASS offers more accurate location results to a growing Russian user base.