Apple iPhone 5 has three microphones and HD voice support, what's in it for you

Apple iPhone 5 has three microphones and HD voice support, what's in it for you
The Apple iPhone 5 showed up with not one or two, but three microphones - front, back, and on the bottom of its case. We had the Huawei Ascend Mate ensure stellar call quality with The iPhone 5 also supports wideband audio, which is popular under its commercial name HD voice, but about 80 handsets currently, among which a lot of Android handsets, also support it.

What are the potential benefits from this three-mics setup on the iPhone 5, though? First, the microphones - three means now Apple can use some advanced beam-forming directional audio techniques. Beam-forming uses two or more microphones pointed in different directions with a narrower coverage fields for picking up targeted sounds. 

In the case of the iPhone 5, we have one in the front, one on the back, around the camera area, and one on the bottom - a setup that pretty much ensures directional coverage from all angles, regardless of the phone's position. When each microphone picks up the sound coming from its respective direction, a specialized processor then analyzes the sound data, loaded with the location and type algorithm of the mics, and then relays to the listener the cleaned up sound, depending on the output required. 

This getup can virtually eliminate background noises, and only relay crystal clear sounding voice to the caller on the other side, for example. It can also help with recording fuller audio in your 1080 video footage taken with the iPhone 5, improve Siri's recognition of your accents, make for clearer conference and FaceTime calls, and so on.

Speaking of voice clarity, the wideband audio function, or HD voice, in the newest iPhone, doubles both the sound spectrum width and the sampling rate, bringing it closer to the true human speech range, so voices come out exceptionally loud and clear, with half of the bandwidth needed by traditional solutions. Currently about 45 carriers in 35 countries support HD voice on their network, and Apple said it specific implementation in the iPhone 5 is compatible with 20 of those, but didn't give specifics.

In the US, only Sprint is out with HD voice capability, but not the type you'll find in the iPhone 5, although when the carrier rolls its LTE network next year, high-def VoLTE could be an option, judging from Apple's handset specs. Ditto with Verizon, AT&T, and the others with LTE networks, which said they will be rolling VoLTE. Qualcomm's radio supports this in theory, but it's not a matter of simple software update for the iPhone 5, when the US carriers launch it, so we might see it fully supported with next year's iPhone at the earliest.

Europe is ahead in HD voice implementation, as it has agreed on a de facto standard, and now more than 10 carriers there, amongst which DT, support it, about six in Africa have it, Telstra in Australia, and so on. It remains to be tested how much of a difference would the high-def voice transmission make on compatible networks, and we are sure comparisons with the iPhone 4S will start popping up soon enough after the iPhone 5 launches.

Related phones

iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1440 mAh(8h 3G talk time)



1. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010


10. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Not surprised with apple endorsing their phone in the video with the name John "Appleseed"!! :D

18. AeroPrime

Posts: 175; Member since: Feb 21, 2011

Can anyone tell me what's the big deal about apple products? What innovation have they done? I don't need anyone to explain rocket science theory. Just tell the big engineering factor and the significant? Am i paying for the badge or name or some crap piece of engineering? Think?!

4. MalakiMills

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 15, 2010

Aren't the vast majority of phones nowadays built with multiple microphones. For noise cancellation and what not. The droid x was one of the first to do it, and that was in 2010!

14. gwhyte01

Posts: 44; Member since: Jul 09, 2008

Sorry bro, but the HTC touch pro 2 was the first with multiple microphones.

5. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

Not enough for innovation sorry try xloud , bravia engine , floating touch , ip67x clear phase tech , stacked cmos hdr vid , on sensor lens technology... few of what i can name of sony's innovation / tech also dont forget clear bass tech

6. Angkor

Posts: 108; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

How about 3D HD voice?

7. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

“We are not afraid of lawsuits, because we have an extensive portfolio of intellectual property rights,” - Sony JUST sue Apple for copying their design of a phone omg!

8. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

nokia lumia 920 also has three microphones, read it somewhere

9. muhsen

Posts: 281; Member since: Jun 07, 2012

helloooooooo,there r nokia 808 PV and nokia lumia 920 where they both have 3mics, not just for hd voice and noise cancellation but for rich audio recording in vids i don't why phonearena always forget nokia in major things where nokia is the most participant there's an article claims that iphone 3gs defined smartphone support because it has been supported for 3 years!duhhhhhhh, r they too blind to not see that all nokia smartphones since n95 get support for at least 3 years?! not to mention that the 5800 is 4 year old and still gets updates with new features,nokia even support their 50$ phones for couple of years!

12. kalamazoo

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

The 920 records in mono, Damian said it -

19. chaoticrazor

Posts: 2347; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

whatever people say about nokia no one can deny they support all there phones longer then any other company. my old n8 had an update recently and my nokia 808 juts got fp2. all these updates for a branded dead OS but i love all the articles about minor things on the iphone and then they try to big them up as if its something major the 808 was a huge leap in innovation yet look at the welcome it recieved from many reviewers ( cnet asia was the most apple biased ever)

13. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

What's in it for me? Nothing. It doesn't work on US carriers.

17. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

hd voice so its 720p? lol marketing scam

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Can't wait to grab one

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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