While Android smartphones came with LTE support back in 2011, Apple added support for LTE networks late last year with the launch of iPhone 5.
Lowell McAdam, Verizon CEO claims that he was the one who convinced Steve Jobs to add LTE support to the yet-to-be released iPhone 5 at that time. He mentioned this while speaking at a conference for the National Association of Broadcasters conference.
Fierce Wireless reports:
McAdam was trying to convince Jobs to make the iPhone 5 compatible with LTE. “I was really trying to sell him and he sat there without any reaction. Finally, he said, ‘Enough. You had me at 10 Mbps. I know you can stream video at 10 Mbps.’ And Apple’s next phone was LTE,” McAdam said.
Even though McAdam believes that he was instrumental in Apple adding LTE support to iPhone 5, I don’t think that was not the only reason.
It has been well documented that one of the main reasons Apple didn’t add LTE support to iPhone 4S was because the first generation LTE chipsets would have forced a lot of design compromises, which Apple was not willing to make.
At that time, Android smartphones relied on a pair of chips to work, one chip communicated with LTE networks and another chip, let the handset talk to 3G network.
Apple had to wait for Qualcomm to launch LTE chipsets that supported 3G and LTE networks so that the 4G LTE iPhone was as thin or thinner than iPhone 4S and it didn’t consume too much battery life. So it was pretty impressive when Apple launched iPhone 5 with LTE support and also managed to make it 18% thinner than iPhone 4S.
It is also important to note that back in 2011, LTE was still in deployment phase in the US. Though Verizon had a head start as it started rolling out its LTE network in 2010, Apple’s other carrier partners were lagging behind. AT&T started rolling out its LTE network in 2011, while Sprint started deploying LTE network only from the middle of last year.
So as The Verge also points out, I really wonder how much of the decision to add LTE to iPhone 5 was because of McAdam’s meeting with Steve Jobs.