updated 11:25 am EST, Fri March 4, 2011
No LTE model likely until at least 2012
Apple CEO Steve Jobs "has expressed his interest in an LTE iPhone and is willing to start the development at an early date," claims China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou. The comment was made outside of a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference meeting in Beijing. China Mobile recently won government approval to start large-scale testing of TD-LTE, specifically in Shanghai, Hangzhou and four other cities.
If development of an LTE iPhone is in an early stage or yet to begin, it is unlikely to arrive in 2011, as Apple traditionally releases major iPhone revisions in June or July. Jianzhou's statement does suggest, however, that an a device could arrive in 2012. By that point more LTE networks will be active worldwide, including the crucial addition of AT&T in the US.
Verizon has been running an American LTE service since December, and should continue to expand it over time. In November, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg indicated that Apple was already interested in the technology. The first Verizon iPhone launched without LTE though, as Verizon wanted the product as soon as possible, and LTE would have allegedly required major design changes.