Rumor: Next Generation iPhone To Be 3G, No 4G LTE iPhone Until 2012

A new report is suggesting that the chipsets required for 4G LTE in the next generation iPhones will not be in production in time for the speculated iPhone 5 launch in September 2011.  According to Will Strauss, president of wireless chip tracker Forward Concepts, speaking to Forbes (via MacRumors), chipsets for 4G LTE that would be compatible with the iPhone design would not be ready until at least Q4 of 2011 which means that Apple wouldn’t be able to release a 4G compatible iPhone until 2012.

The report comes hot on the heels of the Apple Q2 earnings conference call in which Apple COO Tim Cook was once again quizzed about the possibility of LTE compatible iPhones.  Cook once again reiterated the point that, while Apple didn’t comment on future product releases, the current generation of 4G chips would require Apple to make design compromises in the iPhone that the company were simply not willing to make.

The question of when Apple would release a 4G iPhone has been a hot topic for the past few months as both Verizon and AT&T roll out their 4G networks across the United States.  While some would suggest that holding off on 4G devices could harm Apple’s market share when compared to 4G devices from other manufacturers, it is clear that Apple are doing as they have done in the past; waiting until the components are available that allow them to make a design that fits the technology.

One of the chief complaints about existing 4G devices is the massive drain on battery power that 4G network connection can cause.  It is likely that this is a strong consideration for Apple when they come out with the 4G version of the iPhone.

The lack of 4G in the iPhone 5 in September is consistent with rumors that have been circulating recently which suggest that the next generation iPhone will be an incremental upgrade of the existing iPhone 4, much like an iPhone 4S.  The new iPhone is thought to incorporate a new 8 megapixel camera, faster A5 processor and up to 64GB storage.  The new iPhone will also provide global coverage by employing dual GSM/CDMA capabilities. Of course, no details on the device have yet been released by Apple so any information at this point should still be considered speculation.

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  • cv

    The logical evolution of the iPhone is HSPA+. Most of the world doesn’t not have commercial LTE networks (heck, the voice spec isn’t even complete) and the current generation of LTE chips are so power hungry as to really cause poor battery performance.

    Just because a couple of phones have LTE chips doesn’t mean that it’s mature technology.

    Historically, Apple has released handsets based on widespread and proven cellular network technologies. There is little reason to expect them to change their M.O.

  • Tony

    No 4G/LTE, forget it. I want to replace my current iPhone 3G and have no intention of getting myself into a two year contract on another 3G phone when there are already 4G/LTE phones available. Apple needs to understand that they are no longer the only game in town.