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Apple Tells FCC: There's more to the iPhone than the Public Knows

Apple tells the FCC that there's more to the iPhone than the public knows and wants them to commit to a 45 day short term confidentiality that will freeze internal photos of the iPhone 4. What could Apple be holding back? Apple's FCC letter is enclosed in this report for your review.

Apple to FCC: Formal Short & Long Term Confidentiality Request

Note this specific Apple statement below: "Although Apple has begun to market the device publicly, these documents reveal technical and design information that has not been publically disclosed in such marketing and that is protected by Apple as confidential and proprietary secrets."

2 - Apple's FCC letter 

Also Enclosed in the FCC Document: Regulatory Label for iPhone 4

3 - FCC regulatory label for iPhone 4 

The information noted above was obtained from the FCC document BCG – E 2380A dated June 7, 2010 and just recently revealed. 

Yesterday, MacRumors pointed to a recent WWDC session that revealed that the iPhone 4 would sport 512 MB RAM. If that point pans out, then that would confirm Apple's main point made to the FCC. Yet the question that begs to be asked is: What other technical details could Apple be holding back from the public prior to release? Do you have any ideas? Let us know by making a comment below. 


Our Report is also Being Covered By: MacSurfer, Apple Investor News, MacDailyNews, The Register UK, igeneration France, iSpazio Spanish, Fortune CNN Money, MacPlus France, iLounge, TiPb, Techmeme, AppleInsiderMacNNPhoneDog, iPhoneclub Netherlands, IntoMobile, AllNewsMac, Edible Apple, Phonesreview UK, AppleReport, BENM Austria, iPhoneHellas Greece, MacLife, iPhoner Italy, Softnation Germany, Macerkopf Germany, iPhones-Russia, MacTalk Australia, BlogdoiPhone Brazil, iSzene Germany, Macworld France and more. 


Update June 22, 2010: Information that Apple Wanted to Keep Secret

Los Angeles Times Busines: "Apple Inc. is now collecting "precise," "real-time geographic location" of its users' iPhones, iPads and computers. As some readers have noted, Apple has added a "Location Services" page under Settings ... General that allows users to prevent apps from using location information (as we covered here.) However, there's nothing to indicated that these settings prevent Apple itself from gathering and storing location data from Apple devices," states David Sarno of the Los Angeles Times. Also see InformationWeek on this point.


Whether this geo-location tracking clause appears in the new iPhone 4 manual that Apple requested to be kept under wraps by the FCC for 45 days is not known at this time. Yet it stands to reason that in order to activate the iPhone 4, you will have to agree to this clause which supports the need for secrecy and the positon that the Los Angeles Times report is taking. Update June 24, 2010: Confirmation: the geo-location tracking clause is in the manual. See the last clause of the iPhone 4 manual (of part one).


On one hand it's good. If you were ever stranded on a road and unable to communicate on your iPhone, the geo-location technology could still allow authorities to track your location. On the other hand, it's a privacy issue - and it appears that Apple isn't giving you a choice. We covered "Privacy: A Burning Issue," hereUpdate, June 24, 2010: Washington law makers now want answers from Apple about this clause.  


Update, June 23, 2010 Re:  The iPhone 4 Teardown by iFixit 

In step 8, iFixit states: "While we're not too busy, let's talk RAM. Unlike the iPhone 3GS and iPad, who are both equiped with 256 MB, the iPhone 4 has a whopping 512 MB!"

So there you have it, iFixit confirms another secret that Apple tried to hold back via their letter of confidentiality to the FCC.

Update, June 23, 5PM Mountain Time: See new information about "Video Calls" in Apple's iPhone 4 Product Guide just released  and a day ahead of the iPhone 4 launch.



Gordon Festly

@David. Your last point is the best. There should be a lot of surprises. Jobs did tell us of 200 + changes were coming. So Good point.

David Zepedi

Apple tells the FCC and developers at WWDC to keep things secret and then reveals the WWDC sessions that supposedly confess that the iPhone has double the RAM. I think they blew the surprise and secret. But maybe, there's more. Maybe Apple could intro a feature like the swipe control feature that they patented. That's software not hardware so you can hide it.

Lastly, Apple keeps telling us over and over again that there's something like 200 changes coming to the iPhone 4 and they've only shown us what? 15-20? So there's a ton of room for surprises on that basis.



I'd say that the most interesting document, of particular use to Apple's competitors, is the antenna gains and patterns document. The other information will be relatively cheaply and easily revealed by doing product tear-downs (and frankly there's not a lot likely to be new in block diagrams, schematics, and bills of materials). The RF and antenna performance information is more expensive to reverse engineer.



Yes very interesting.

They might be trying to protect details of the stainless steel antenna.

I'm not too hopeful about the GSM/UMTS + CDMA combo phone, but there is some interesting speculation on pentaband 3G support here and here -- Apple's marketing so far has indicated quad-band GSM only.

I don't think there is a lot of information available on the 3-axis gyroscope in iPhone 4 either. It will drive some interesting apps (not just games) that wouldn't work with the accelerometer alone. They have a lead on everyone else in this department and I think they'd like to maintain it as long as possible.


The easiest feature to hold back? A Radio. It's a software thing that Apple already implements in the nano and you can hide it easily. I vote for an FM radio ++.


Would a move like this give Apple an unfair competitive advantage?

Stone P.

Apple has to learn from this. Keep 1 or 2 features back or secret until launch day and then watch the buzz go through the roof when they're revealed! Secret Marketing, a whole new kind of buzz. Way to go Apple! I love it.


Oh for sure. The doubling of RAM is likely the killer secret that got revealed yesterday and shouldn't have. That would have been a huge buzz on the launch day if kept secret. So the FCC letter is bang on. In April this site had the "User Manual" ahead of everyone and it did reveal more than the flimsy thing that Apple actually gave iPad users. So I think it's really about the user manual at this point.

Example, iPad manual report

franc bryson

Is it a touch sensitive backing? It would make sense now that they have adopted a flat glass back as opposed to the more ergonomic curved one on previous models.


I agree with Jim. Apple has go to keep a surprise or two for the actual launch date of future products. It creates such a buzz. Would I like NFC? Sure. But it's likely to be some minor surpsise. I'm already happy with the ram, so maybe....a new video boosting capability for FaceTime ... or some interesting little detail in the "User Manual" that they list above. Maybe it's a battery life stat or support for a new wireless standard.


I think that the jump to 512MB RAM on the iPhone is proof enough that this letter was hoping this to be a secret for an even better launch buzz. So that discovery could have been the biggest of the "secrets." Others could be details found in the user manual that may be very good to something disturbing about radiation due to California's new law about disclosure. So while I expect some other minor details to arise, I think that the biggest news surprise is already out concerning the RAM.

This "surprise thing" may be a new marketing tool of Apple's going forward because it sure get's the mind wondering and it makes it a lot of fun. Great conversation for the weekend with friends.

Glenn Holland

How about the ability to use the phone instead of a credit/debit card, to pay at point of sale or to transfer funds using someone else's iPhone?

HD Boy

This also could be technology related to AppleTV, living room remotes and gaming, video streaming and the new data center services and/or the iTunes store.


I seriously doubt it would be a CDMA phone if you look at the specific info Apple wants to hide. They would have to have a different FCC ID than a phone that would be GSM. I haven't seen a phone that is both CDMA and GSM at the same time.

Paul Johnson

How about AWS, so that T-Mobile could sell the iPhone?


Near Field Communication, I hope


Mike +1.


A good source says a combination CDMA / GSM cellular radio system that would make this phone compatible with most Cellular networks in the United States.

This will allow the phone to be activated with the provider of your choice. The worlds first phone to support all Major cellular systems.


I'd say Sprint, since they already have 4g coverage...


They probably want to prevent HTC and others discovering some basic mods to existing technology that probably extends battery life and radio range. If Apple wants the FCC to withold the info, then it's because none of the info is protected by patents and therefore can be used by anybody, thus defeating some of the advantages this new iPhone has.

Or maybe there's a piece of U-232 in it.

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