Apple job postings hint at a possible VoLTE surprise for iPhone 6

Apple has already said the iPhone 6 will support calls over Wi-Fi, but what about voice over LTE? No, the company hasn’t mentioned that, but there’s an outside chance the feature will be added to the next iPhone: Apple has posted job openings for engineers with VoLTE experience.

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Light Reading’s Dan Jones spotted several related job postings and speculated on an iPhone 6 surprise. The company is looking for experience with VoLTE, IP Multimedia Subsystems and the Session Initiation Protocol — all of which add up to future voice support over fast data networks. [company]Apple[/company] is also seeking people to help with Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMD-WB), a codec used in the VoLTE standard.

If you’re looking for VoLTE support at the launch of the iPhone 6, the timing of this development isn’t ideal: Apple is expected to hold, but hasn’t yet announced, a press event on September 9 to unveil the iPhone 6. If the company is just now seeking VoLTE engineers, it would be nearly impossible to debut native voice over mobile broadband support on a new phone.

However, as Fierce Wireless notes, [company]Verizon[/company] has said it will debut VoLTE service in the fourth quarter of this year. Other carriers also have timelines to switch voice services over to data networks: [company]AT&T[/company] has done so in a few select markets with a single phone model, for example, and [company]T-Mobile[/company] also offers the service.

It’s possible, then, that Apple could add the feature through a software update for some of its carrier partners. There shouldn’t be any special hardware required for VoLTE, especially if the iPhone can hand calls off from cellular to Wi-Fi; the concept is similar. Next month is surely too soon, but if Apple finds and hires the right expertise, the iPhone 6 could be one software update away from sending voice over LTE data networks. And once that happens, watch for new apps that bring different over-the-top services from the ones available now built on traditional cellular networks and Wi-Fi.