Apple iOS 6.1 Update Makes More iPhones LTE-Savvy

Apple's iOS 6.1 update, smaller perks aside, enables more carriers to offer more iPhone owners high-speed LTE access.

Apple is now offering OS 6.1, an update to the operating system that launched with the iPhone 5.

The main reason for the update is that it adds Long Term Evolution (LTE) support to 36 additional iPhone carriers worldwide—or now 56 total.

While faster browsing speeds are certainly reason enough for an update, Apple threw in two other perks—or at least two others it feels like mentioning.

"Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the U.S. through Fandango, and iTunes Matches subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud," Apple said in a Jan. 28 statement.

"iOS 6 is the world's most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in the statement.

iOS 6 also included one of the biggest gaffes in Apple's recent history—a Maps app so bad that executives were reportedly let go because of it and CEO Tim Cook was compelled to publically apologize for it, saying that it didn't meet Apple standards and customers deserved better.

Apple has offered no word on when it might offer an iOS 6 update with an improved Maps app.

Cook did, however, recently address rumors that Apple has cut back on orders to its component suppliers—or rather, rumors about what those cuts mean.

"I don't want to comment on any particular rumor because I would spend my life doing that," Cook said during Apple's Jan. 23 earnings call.

He continued:

But I would suggest that it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans and also stress that even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it means for our business, because the supply chain is very complex and we obviously have multiple sources for things, yields might vary, supply performance can vary, the beginning inventory positions can vary. I mean, there is just an inordinately long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what's going on.

While Cook's speech may have slowed talk about Apple having passed its peak (despite setting record-setting revenue during its last quarter), it did nothing to deter rumors.

iLounge offered the most-detailed rumors to date, blogging Jan. 28 that the rumored low-cost, "ready for China" iPhone won't just be an iPhone 3GS with a Lightning port and a Retina display, but a cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch and the classic iPod.

"It will have a 4-inch screen, like the iPhone 5, a bottom like the latest iPod Touch, and a shape that's most similar to the iPod classic," the site reported.

The phone—which could help solve the issue of Apple needing a solid share of China's smartphone market but the iPhone being beyond the budgets of many Chinese consumers—will be just a half-millimeter taller and wider than the iPhone 5, likely have a plastic chassis and feature a screen that extends slightly from the device.

"It won't make any bold departures from past Apple designs," concluded iLounge, "but then, it's supposed to be an inexpensive iPhone and achieves that goal pretty much as expected."