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No LTE iPhone coming in 2011?

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Mon October 11, 2010

Dual-mode world phone may be coming instead

Apple has no plans to release any form of LTE iPhone in 2011, whether for AT&T, Verizon or otherwise, a report suggests. While Verizon is widely expected to get a CDMA-based iPhone in early 2011, sources say that neither this nor the regular mid-year iPhone update will be LTE-compatible. AT&T and Verizon are each launching LTE networks in 2011, which amongst other things should allow for a single phone model to operate across both carriers.

Mid-year plans are instead claimed to involve a dual-mode GSM/CDMA device, capable of operating on any carrier in any part of the world. The first LTE iPhone would therefore be delayed until 2012, by which point LTE should be more widely accessible. The handset could also benefit from second-generation LTE chipsets, which will likely be smaller and more energy-efficient.

LTE will permit more desktop-like Internet access on mobile devices. Verizon expects to have initial network speeds of 5 to 12Mbps down, and between 2 and 5Mbps up. In theory however LTE may eventually be able to support rates in excess of 100Mbps.


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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -10

    Wait!

    I thought Apple was always ahead of the curve on these things?

    Oh, wait, that's just when they're ahead of the curve, (say on their genius dropping of the floppy drive, or jumping the USB bandwagon or, well, that's usually the two people bring up, from 10 years ago), and the fanboys can crow how apple jumps on new technology or dumps the cruft while the others are still stuck in the 70s (not to mention explain how we would all still be using floppy disks if Apple hadn't stopped using them).

    Or, they're geniusly standing back waiting for a market to form, then come in and offer a killer device that is better than anything else out there (say, the iPod or iPhone), and the fanboys can claim how Apple may not be first, but they're the best.

    Or maybe it's when they geniusly ignore a technology because they know that, at some point, it will become outdated and marginalized, and then the fanboys can claim how Apple was so right to not bother with it. Like Blu-Ray and CDMA, and one can only guess eSATA and USB 3.0.

    So where does LTE fall? Certainly not group one, now. And one can't imagine group three (unless LTE is really a space filler before the next killer technology). So I guess it's group two. Man, now I can't wait to see what the LTE phone will be like!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -10

    Oh

    Oh, forgot a group. That's the "Apple was late to the party because either they missed the memo or they're hanging out with someone who missed the memo (you know, like they did with CD-RW).

    Since Apple is joined at the hip with ATT, who's busy with HSPA+ instead of LTE (which, I know, they're just waiting for it to be finalized - we know how soon that will be, too). So, like with the 3GS, they're just going along with ATT's "network speed improvement" rather than working past that.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003

    +6

    ...

    Apple does whats best for there products and consumers and its bottom line. They skipped out on 3G with the first iphone to because of battery performance. I can't see any reason for apple to make a LTE phone right now. Its not good for there products yet, chip size and power, its not good for its customers yet because there is hardly any LTE at all out there and its not good for there bottom line selling a phone with more expensive parts in it that will never get used in its life cycle for 99% of the buyers. If they came out with a LTE phone now, its easily going to be 2 more years before LTE networks are out in full force it will already be time to upgrade that phone.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999

    +3

    Couple Issues

    First of all, this is Techcrunch we're talking about, so take any rumors with a grain of salt or two.

    Second, it's absolutely true that new network technologies have traditionally been terribly sucky (a technical term) for a year or two after their rollouts, typically In Select Markets Only(TM), and with devices limited by sub-optimal battery life and network coverage. At least that was the case with 3G devices and networks, and 2.5G devices and networks before that. As an early-adopter customer, you pay handsomely to beta test their new networks.

    Another issue is that globally, the question of which frequency bands 4G LTE will be allowed to run on is far from settled. Several large markets in Europe and elsewhere haven't completed the switch to digital TV yet, and haven't freed up the prime 700mHz range on which LTE 4G is being rolled out in the US. This means that any models that come out in January may only work in the US, and then different models might be needed to support other countries as they settle on the frequency range they want to use. This would be hugely troublesome for a company like Apple which sells a large portion of their phones internationally. If Apple were to do a large PR push for 4G in the US, but couldn't roll out 4G models to the rest of the world, it might harm their international sales without access to their flagship model.

    Who knows what Apple will do. They seem to be at a crossroads with the CDMA Verizon model; until now, they have had a single GSM model of iPhone produced and distributed worldwide. They could either start branching out and releasing models for as many markets as they can, which they seem to be starting to do with the Verizon model, or they can push antenna chipset suppliers to support a wider range of frequencies and protocols in a single package and consolidate their production. Surely, Apple's image would suffer if they were to offer a model without 4G network access after their competitors have made the switch.

    The obvious safe play for the US market would be to offer 4G as a premium in a higher-end (possibly more bulky for extra batteries) model, and release a separate upgraded 3G model as well. Then, the buyer makes the choice, and Apple doesn't have to deal with the bad PR of not offering a 4G option. I'm betting that Apple goes the other way, however, keeping the fracturing of their models at a minimum, and they'll kill off the CDMA-only model coming out in January as soon as they can make a single device that works on GSM and CDMA. And eventually, once a larger portion of the world has settled on how they're going to support LTE, to the point that antenna chipset suppliers have integrated them in multi-network packages, Apple will finally make the switch to 4G.

    So yeah, I'm betting that he's right, and Apple is going to sit this one out, as much as I'd like to see him wrong, as he and I very well could be. I just don't see them rolling out a LTE/CDMA model that won't run optimally in other counties with CDMA networks, and I don't see them going from one model to four in a year (GSM only, CDMA-only, LTE/CDMA, LTE/GSM), as that would have a large impact on margins as production costs increase. As much as it may embarrass iPhone lovers, myself included, I'm betting we'll be on the defensive on the 4G issue. As for Testudo asking how people will respond to it, I'm going with e), "meh, that 4G network coverage sucks anyway," which will likely not be a completely indefensible position.

  1. chas_m

    Joined:

    +1

    LTE=not really happening in 2011

    Apart from a few cities, LTE isn't really rolling out in 2011, it's rolling out in 2012. Look at how long its taken the cell companies to roll out improvements in 3G speed *across their entire networks.* News reports of LTE are overly optimistic IME.

    Apple has a long habit of waiting until technologies gain *widespread market acceptance* before jumping on board. USB and killing floppies are a rare exception of them leaping ahead of the market, and the lack of Blu-Ray may turn out to be prescient actually (in terms of high-capacity hard-form data storage).

    The first LTE iPhone is probably on the boards for mid-2012, when people outside NYC will actually have a reliable LTE network up and running. Might be a little behind the competitors, but in this case I'm not sure there is "crushing" demand for faster email-checking than what exists now. iPad owners will probably get LTE before iPhone owners if I had to guess.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +4

    testudo

    That little troll never stops to amuse me with his cute little rants. :)

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -2

    Why fret??


    There will be so many high-end Android smartphones available when LTE is finalized... They're Magical!

  1. theCLEARblog

    Baninated

    Joined: Jun 2010

    -2

    No need to wait to 2012 to get 4G on your phone

    The great news is that with the Rover Puck, you can still get 4G on all of your iOS devices. The Puck acts as a Wi-Fi network to up to 8 devices - so bust out your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and MacBook Pro to get that 4G. It's so small you can just keep it in your pocket or purse and forget it's there, while still getting the speed you need. There are lots of rumors going around about Apple and 4G - but luckily no one has to wait for Apple to get around to it. Have you heard of the Rover Puck?

    Jamala at Rover.com

  1. sseaton1971

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010

    +1

    Re: Testudo and the Apple "Fanboys"

    I don't know the history here, but I would love a response from Testudo or others that know his posting history. Testudo seems really angry at Apple and the people who love their products. I love (some) Apple products, but I also love tons of other products out there. And as much as I am not a big fan of Microsoft's offerings, I use some of their products and recognize that many other people do as well. Microsoft offers products some people want, so I don't see a need to bash them or their "fanboys" or go a tirade against them.

    The only thing I can think is that Testudo is just really pissed off at the world, is a "fanboy" for a company that is in competition with Apple, or is perhaps a plant to make the comments more active. I just can't imagine any other reason for taking positions so strongly against Apple (or an other company, for that matter).

    Anyway, I don't know what really motivates Apple's decisions, but I am guessing it is similar to what Athens said above... Apple does what's best for consumers, products, and its bottom line. All three of those things would have to be in some sort of harmony to be a successful company. I am glad the 90s are over when Apple truly put out some really crappy products. It seems the have a good business model now and products that people really want. I am not sure why that is such a bad thing... can you explain that to me Testudo? Is your bashing directed mainly at Apple or the Apple "fanboys," as you call them? If you are hate Apple, you can avoid buying their products... if you hate the Apple "fanboys," perhaps you should not associate in an online community where a lot of them are active. I will say this, though, the banter back and forth is somewhat entertaining. lol

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: LTE not in 2011

    A few cities? Yes, those 30+ cities Verizon is going to have on-line at the beginning of the year is 'a few'. And it will all stop then until 2012.

    Oh, wait, you're talking about the "late to the party ATT" aren't you. Oh, then yeah, only a few cities.

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