4G LTE iPhone Coming In 2012?

BY Rounak Jain

Published 26 Oct 2011

4G iPhone

Along with widespread expectations of a redesign, industry sources speaking to DigiTimes believe that Apple would finally release a 4G capable long term evolution (LTE) iPhone next year.

The report goes onto say that the number of networks offering 4G services would rise from a mere 35 to 100 by the end of 2012, with Sprint expected to rollout LTE services in the middle of 2012.

At the Verizon iPhone launch earlier this year, Tim Cook explained why Apple is reluctant on including a 4G LTE radio on iPhones:

“The first generation of LTE chip-sets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make”

The design compromise that had to be made in 4G phones were evident in the first 4G capable phone in the U.S. – Verizon’s Thunderbolt (via Forbes):

[the phone] relies on a pair of chips to work. One chip, from Samsung, communicates with Verizon’s 4G networks, allowing the handset to achieve blazing data speeds of between 5 and 20 MBPS. Another chip, from Qualcomm, lets the handset talk to Verizon’s 3G network.

Apple would most likely come out with a 4G iPhone only when unified chips supporting both 3G and 4G would be available. That and of course if the battery life doesn’t take a huge hit.

The current 4G capable phone market in the U.S. is dominated by HTC, which holds a share of 60 percent while Samsung, Motorola and LG account for the remaining 40 percent.

The Sprint-Apple partnership and the rumored $20 billion deal would make a lot of sense if Sprint has Apple on board when launching its 4G LTE network.

Although AT&T claims that the theoretical 14.4 Mbps down on the iPhone 4S makes it 4G capable, Apple has refrained from making any such claim.

So when do you think would Apple take the lid off a truly 4G capable iPhone?

[DigiTimes via AppleInsider]