Will Apple Release A 4G-Compatible iPhone 5?

With the release of the iPhone 5 starting to loom large, apparent component leaks are starting to appear and users keen to purchase or upgrade to the new device are starting to speculate on whether or not the iPhone 5 will be able to take advantage of the new 4G AT&T and Verizon LTE networks that are being rolled out across the United States this year.  While history with the iPhone 3G would suggest that Apple tends to wait until network coverage is fully established before releasing an iPhone that is compatible with the latest technologies, the latest quote from Verizon Chief Executive Daniel Mead in an interview with the Wall Street Journal seems to suggest that Apple is keen to embrace the new technology.

“You’ll see more coming from Apple on LTE…I feel very confident that they are going to be a part of it.”

The question of whether the Verizon iPhone 4 would be compatible with the Verizon LTE network was raised at the launch event last month.  However, Apple COO Tim Cook noted that 4G compatibility would have required design compromises to the iPhone 4, which Apple were not prepared to make at the point in favor of releasing the iPhone on the Verizon network sooner rather than later.

The fact that the iPhone 5 will be a completely new device therefore raises speculation that Apple will choose to implement 4G compatibility in it, possibly releasing a single handset that is compatible with both the AT&T and Verizon networks.  It is known from analysis of the chipsets found in the Verizon iPhone 4 that the the device is in fact both GSM and CDMA compatible.  Apple could potentially choose a to manufacture a handset using chipsets that add 4G compatibility to the iPhone, although it is worth noting that there are a couple of issues which may preclude that from happening in 2011.

First, due to the relatively bulky nature of the current generation 4G chipsets, it is unlikely that a 4G compatible iPhone 5 would be any thinner than the current generation.  Going by Apple short history of iPhone hardware revisions, the new iPhone that is due to be released this summer could even be a spec upgrade to the iPhone 4, perhaps implementing newer technologies such as the rumored A5 processor or NFC (Near Field Compatibility).  If this is the case, then Apple will have to cram a hell of a lot of new technology into a space that is already pretty cramped.

This also leads on to the second obstacle in the 4G issue; battery life.  Android owners are painfully aware that 4G eats up battery life and with less physical space for batteries in a 4G iPhone, is it likely that Apple would make the compromise of shorter battery life for faster network speed?  Network connectivity is a huge part of how the iPhone operates but dramatically reducing battery life would not be on the cards.  I’d suggest that Apple would only implement 4G compatibility if they could make changes to the iPhone battery technology that would ensure the new device could at least maintain the same battery life as the iPhone 4.

Depending on timescales it may be more realistic to expect a 4G iPhone in 2012, when new battery technologies have reached the stage of implementation in the iPhone.  Otherwise, it may be more likely that we will see a 4G iPad 3 before we see the 4G iPhone.

Longer Lasting…



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  • Michael Goncalves

    I don’t like it when people call me ‘Retard’, ‘Cave Man’, ‘Moron’ or ‘High Drag/Low Speed’. 
     I perfer the excuse my mother gives to people…”My youngest son is…special (as in Special Ed). Given that advanced ‘warning’, I want to ask a Stupid Question as I am not quite ready to slit my wrists when Apple releases its iPhone 5 (I am currently an iPhone 4S user—you know, the phone I was holding with my spear when they dug me out of the icepack?!!!)

    QUESTION: Why should I care if my iPhone X runs 4G or not? 

    1. Most of my applications (Apps) require WIFI to operate-4G is nice but it ain’t WIFI!!!
    2. Why does AT&T need a 4G network when it has HSDPA which reputedly runs faster?
    3. If I am away from a WIFI hotspot, I am only going to be yacking on my phone, not downloading from a 3G network (I’d die of old age before I completed downloading a movie on an EDGE network).  What is the difference, between a 4G & a 3G network if I’m only yacking on my iPhone? Better Clarity? Who cares—so long as the signal is Lima Charley?!!!
    4. If you put Jesus, Mohammad, Budda, Confusious, Lucifer and Johnny Wadd Homes in the same room together, five minutes later, there would be a ‘Dick Measuring’ contest. Why? ALL Men (no exceptions) have a PATHOLOGICAL NEED TO QUANTIFY THINGS and to presume that which possesses the better numbers is obviously the better product (or person, as Johnny Wadd Homes would assert).  It matters not if the application is met; its wheither one set of numbers is higher/lower than the ‘mean average’.
    5. Why should I care if my iPhone ONLY does 3G?  Why would I feel the compelling need to migrate to a smartphone that has 4G capability when people who do have 4G access whine about their near worthless battery life.  Why be the fastest when fast enough will get you where you need to go?!!!  

  • Mike

    My friend is a regional manager for AT&T, he told me to wait to use my upgrade until mid-July when the iPhone for 4G comes out. He also said over the next 6-8 months tons of amazing phones will be coming out. He’s always been right before…

  • Ron

    I dont mind if apple’s iphone 5 doesnt have the LTE network by its release date. Id be 110% satisfied if it debuts with 4G and a 4’inch screen..plus its additional apps and more features the new ios5 should conclude.

    who agrees?

  • Johannes

    Well, I am pretty confident, that Apple doesen’t care if they are “behind”. To them more importend seems to be, that it. just. works. I mean, they released a 2g Iphone in 2007. From a technical standpoint that was just rediculous.
    I doubt, that they will implement LTE in the upcoming iphone.

  • John Mc

    With so many other “4G” phones out there, if iphone waited until 2012 they’ be a bit behind the times…

  • cv

    The rest of the world isn’t really using LTE right now. Most markets have upgraded to HSPA+, so that’s what’s more likely this summer. HSPA+ isn’t 4G (hell, LTE right now isn’t 4G, it’s more like 3.85G). As mentioned, the current LTE chipsets are too power hungry and Apple is quite conscious about power consumption.

    Most of Europe will start implementing LTE networks later this year, with a broader rollout next year. So iPhone 6 would be the logical introduction of LTE. That’s too bad for Verizon subscribers, but the rest of the world is chugging along nicely with HSPA+.

  • Al Velasco

    Hopefully Apple will incorporate Liquidmetal and the fuel cell patent into the iPhone 5. Then it will be both thinner and have crazy battery life.