iPhone unlikely to go LTE before 2012? [No, really!]

iPhone 6 to support LTE in 2012 via Qualcomm MDM9615?

Digitimes rumormongers that Apple expected to launch an 4G LTE powered "iPhone 4S" (sigh) this year (double sigh) but has had to push it back to 2012 due to problems with the Qualcomm chipsets.

Apple is likely to delay the launch of its LTE-enabled iPhones to 2012, said the sources, noting that the industry had also long been skeptical about the launch of LTE iPhones in 2011 as the implementation of LTE networks has not yet matured.

Of course, Apple wasn't expected to ship an LTE iPhone in 2011, as they themselves have expressed -- justifiable -- concerns over battery life in current generation chipsets, and the proper Qualcomm radio isn't expected to be available until iPhone 6 in 2012 anyway.

The 5th generation iPhone is expected to be announced and shipped sometime in the September/October timeframe in the US, though why on Jobs' green earth would they call it iPhone 4S when it's the 5th generation iPhone? (iPhone 3GS was the 3rd generation iPhone, a problem that needed fixing because they called the 2nd generation iPhone, iPhone 3G.)

So, yeah, let's take that bit with a China sized grain of salt. What's more interesting, and hopefully likely, is the second part -- that it will boast an 8mp rear camera. Let's hope that's matched up with a new FaceTime HD up front.


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone unlikely to go LTE before 2012? [No, really!]


What is the point of these articles? To continuously provide us with the same set of rumors we are familiar with, but that comes from different sources?
TiPb, do you enjoy being part of this cycle of idiocy? Someone reads a tech blog and accepts the heavily repeated and agreed upon rumors and speculations. That person distributes the information as fact to other people. Those other people then tell the tech blogs, and the blogs rewrite what they wrote last week (in this case just yesterday with TiPb's Phones 4U article), but changes the source from which their information passed through.
A common thread exists:
1) The iPhone 5 will have very little hardware change compared to the iPhone 4. And this includes no internal components capable of supporting LTE.
2) the iPhone 5 will have a late summer or fall release.
Again, I say: By now you all should have started disregarding these types of reports. But instead, and this is interesting, you take these reports as furthur evidence of the assertions you have made.
You know a lot of us follow TiPb on Twitter or Facebook, and some of us receive text message alerts. These article are just unnecessary and ridiculous.

I totally agree. you guys are reaching for news. I'd prefer something new as opposed to the same old rumor.

At this point I think the big iPhone reveal will be iPhone going to Sprint/ T-mobile, sounds like things are turning into a mess for Apple.

I agree, I am starting to get disenchanted with TipB as the same article content seems to be constantly repeated at almost a daily rate. I do not mind follow up on a story as long as it brings fresh and new content but to just regurgitate the same information seems monotonous.

but its apple no matter what its magical and revolutionary. Even if they change just the color it will be special.

LMAO!!! You seem to have caught on. Release a white version on the SAME phone, and it is news for days! Notice when they do a case review, it is a white phone now, like it is something new? As a side note, Apple needs to drop the numbering system all together. What will we be doing in a few years, guessing what iphone 23 will be like? Just stupid. They did not name the first one, and it was completely obvious that the 3G was not the original, and the third one was the same as the second one, just faster and had video, so we tacked an S on it. They did not have to call this one 4...it is not even on the back of the phone like the 3G / 3GS was. It just says iPhone, and they should leave it at that. As to when it comes out: WHO CARES??!!! But, like yourself, I'm sure it will be even more magical / revolutionary than the "old" one, and people that have had a phone for barely a year will gripe that they cannot get a new one, and we will have to endure endless "unboxing" videos (just who in the world started that? They need to be located and beaten about the head and shoulders with a bat) of this amazing device. Which will look a lot like the "old" device, operate like the "old" device, and STILL not perform a lot of the functions that much less "magical / revolutionary" phones have been able to do for years.

I really hope we don't have to wait till September/October for the iPhone, I've been waiting since Feb to upgrade my iPhone 3GS. I may end up going Samsung Galaxy S II it the phone turns out to be good. So far the reviews for the phone have been excellent. Just need to see if AT&T cripple it in anyway of change it to look ugly (as they did the Captivate).

I can beat that. I've been waiting to upgrade my iPhone 3G (no "S") since my contract went month-to-month last November. Pushing it out of the normal June window is really starting to tick me off.
My guess is that all these "rumors" are plants by Apple so the competition will relax a little but and then BAM! At WWDC in June the drop a huge bomb that no one was expecting. That is the Apple way, is it not?

I think anyone hoping for a June/July release of the iPhone 5 will be very disappointed. I'd put money on a September release.

I could care less about LTE right now. I'm not trying to sacrafice battery to download a song a wee bit faster. ... No I'm more concerned w/what Apple will bring to the table in the form of hardware/software upgrades. Minus the MMS & Tethering Deal, my issue has never been w/AT&T. It's been w/Apple and some of theses weak hardware upgrades. Next iPhone should have a 5mp front and a 8mp back. Hell for HD FaceTime. Go 8mp on the front, 10mp on the back. But nooo that would be to much like right, wouldn't it, Apple?

That wouldn't go well at all. Megapixes don't mean anything for picture quality once you hit the 2mp threshold. Also those sensors would be to big for how thin the phone is.

It is wrong to refer to the iPhone 4S as "5th generation". With the exception of a faster processor, on some other design tweaks, it is NOT a new hardware design.

Of course it's not wrong. Even if Apple made no changes other than upgrading the processor to the A5, it would still be the 5th generation iPhone.

Considering that Tim Cook himself said that an LTE iPhone is at least 1 generation away because Apple didn't want to make design compromises with the current design.

It probably should bear repeating that the LTE "rumors" were nothing but wishful thinking or spec-mongering. Not only are there power issues in the first gen LTE chipsets, there are also weird handoff issues between LTE to EVDO and EVDO to LTE transitions. It's just not user friendly now.
Basically every Mac person/blogger has stated this. Digitimes is just making up stuff.

Verizon has 4G in just over 50 cities. AT&T just over 20 cities. Correct? Verizon has had 2 outages so far that lasted days. Tell me again why 4G is a "madatory" thing again?

To me, I know having faster data is better. But at the end of the day who cares how fast it is if you can't use it. Data caps and battery life. How come AT&T caps dsl at 150 -250gb but caps 3G at 2gb

Why is it so hard to just stick a dual core processor with a slightly larger screen and ship the mofo.

I know it's nitpicky, but the first sentence should read "a" 4G LTE powered ..., not "an" 4G LTE powered ...

Regarding the naming of the newest iPhone: I sincerely doubt it will be called the iPhone 4S. This name has been adopted by lazy analysts ever since the developers who'd been given up-spec'd iPhone 4 models to test had dubbed them as such.
Also, Rene, among many others, seems to be confused regarding the historical naming scheme. The 3GS didn't fix any problem created by the 2nd gen iPhone being called the 3G. Recall 2007, Apple detractors took many shots at the iPhone's lack of 3G radio technology. The addition of the faster radio in its 2nd device represented an amelioration of the biggest gripe of the first and was the main differentiator between the two handsets. The 3GS, having not changed in form factor at all, was named so to tout its biggest differentiator from the previous model, speed, while retaining the name of its aesthetically identical predecessor. The iPhone 4 represents the first time Apple has delved into enumeration for a naming choice, likely because its complete overhaul inside and out demanded as much.
Ideally, each new model should merely be called iPhone, but with the recent releasing of iPad 2 (hate that naming), this seems unlikely. Having said that, there is no reason to believe Apple won't simply go in a different direction altoghether- iPhone HD, perhaps. Ultimately, though, to jump between enumerated models and ones that are not (an iPhone 4S would have to be followed by an iPhone 6) seems far too inelegant a solution for such a product conscious company like Apple to adopt.

I wondering if its the fact that Apple wants to have all the phones they launch to have only one Radio. This way they'll save money and we wouldn't have ' fragmentation ' with the iOS versions (the GSM and CDMA iPhones have different iOS versions).
7.2HSPA on my 3GS is pretty good where I get it. I think 14.4HSPA ( ' 4G' ) will be sufficient until LTE by AT&T is built out, which im not holding my breath for.