Apple has refreshed technical specifications for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on its Japanese website to reflect that the latest handsets support Quasi Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), a Japanese GPS-like satellite positioning service nicknamed “Michibiki,” as first reported by the Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Additionally, the website for QZSS states that the GPS radio inside Apple Watch Series 2 units sold in Japan supports QZSS, too.

In addition to GPS, iPhone 7 supports Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), a space-based satellite navigation system used by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. GLONASS provides an alternative to GPS and is the second alternative navigational system in operation with global coverage and of comparable precision.

QZSS is interoperable with GPS and complements the American Global Positioning System (GPS) for a satellite positioning service that is more precise and stable. The system relies on satellites in quasi-zenith orbits (QZO), hence the name.

QZSS currently uses a single satellite, with more to come soon.

GPS systems typically require eight or more satellites for precise positioning. However, as some of these satellites cannot be seen on the reverse side of the globe, only six satellites are constantly visible at a given location.

When QZSS becomes a four-satellite constellation in 2018, three satellites will be visible at all times from locations in the Asia-Oceania regions, said the company. A seven-satellite constellation will be established in the future to help improve coverage in urban areas and mountainous regions.

QZSS can be used in conjunction with the traditional GPS, bringing the number of satellites to eight or more (six GPS satellites and three QZS), which allows for high-precision positioning.

Only iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 units sold in Japan support QZSS.

Source: Mac Otakara (Google Translate)

  • SpideyRules

    Do you have a Japanese version of this site? I’m wondering what the relevance of this is in the States…

    • Bradley Hines

      It’s an apple blog site. Hence why everything is usually related to apple in some form, and this article is related to Apple because it’s showing off tech an iPhone has. It is also relevant because it will allow future iPhones to be more precise in certain countries where coverage may vary. And also, this site is not just for American readers believe it or not. It’s not entitled to one nationality.

      • SpideyRules

        A: “…because it’s showing off tech an iPhone has.” – This is your only relevant point.

        B. “…because it will allow future iPhones to be more precise in certain countries where coverage may vary.” – This doesn’t make a single article relevant in any way because this will not influence future iPhone design AT ALL. Ridiculous point you’re trying to make here.

        C. “…this site is not just for American readers…” – Ummmm it’s in English and on the United States Internet. Other countires halfway around the world would have an extremely difficult time reaching it unless other domains have been redirected or cache the site. Hence my question of “Do you have a Japanese version…?” You fail here again.

        That’s a lot of failing on your part. 😉

      • Bradley Hines

        My first question to you is how do you know they don’t host this website on other domains in other countries? I’m assuming you’ve been to other countries and tried your own theory since you did say “Other countries halfway around the world would have an extremely difficult time reaching it…” So I have to assume you’ve travelled and tried to access this website in another country on their domain. So you’re “obviously” right there. 😉 And secondly, I did not state that this article will influence the design of the iPhone in any way, (I think you need to reread my comment if you thought that’s what I implied) , I was saying future iPhones will provide this tech to help out people in other countries where the GPS may not work as well. And btw, I hope you know immigrants come to America to so it isn’t just “Americans” who read articles on this site and if you want to get technical, the English language isn’t copyrighted to America in case you didn’t know. 😉 And if you must know, every other country in the world makes in mandatory to learn 3 languages, English is always included along with their own native language and a third of their choice, so more than likely other people across the world probably could read this article. And as for the US, they don’t even have it mandatory to maintain or even learn more than just the English language. 😉