updated 11:55 am EST, Tue January 11, 2011
Apple's Cook says 4G iPhone not possible right now
Apple passed on making an LTE version of the Verizon iPhone because it would have required too many sacrifices, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said during the keynote to launch the CDMA device. The first generation of LTE chipsets weren't good for the device because they would have required "design compromises," he said. The launch was instead about timing and thus better to get the device to people who wanted it now, not later.
"I can't tell you the number of times I have been asked over this incredible success run of [the] iPhone: when will the iPhone work on Verizon's network?" Cook said.
LTE was something that would likely happen in the future, but Cook wouldn't comment on Apple's product roadmap.
The remarks are largely accurate as most LTE-capable phones have had to make clear sacrifices to accommodate the larger size and power-hungry nature of the chipsets. Phones like the HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Droid Bionic and LG Revolution are all over four inches in size and often have extra-large batteries to compensate for the extra power draw. Verizon executives talking to Electronista at its 4G event admitted that compensation was necessary to handle the new technology.
Apple followed a similar practice with the GSM iPhone. The electronics firm launched the initial iPhone with 2G service as 3G chipsets in 2007 were too battery-dependent and otherwise inefficient for Apple's goals and design experience at the time. It launched the iPhone 3G a year later and still found room to optimize the battery life for 3G over subsequent revisions.
The phones that already have a form of 4G, such as the HTC Evo 4G, have usually seen short battery life as their main issue. Sprint has gone so far as to recommend that customers turn off the WiMAX radio when it isn't needed, since it consumes much more energy than the 3G companion chip.