updated 07:50 am EDT, Wed May 18, 2011
Apple shifts from iPhone 4 to 4S as LTE ruled out
Insiders claimed Wednesday that the absence of LTE on the next iPhone, widely thought of now as the iPhone 4S, was owed to one manufacturer. Qualcomm is reportedly having problems getting sufficient chip yields for the part Apple would want and thus not enough for production. As most have been predicting, Apple was deemed likely by Digitimes' sources to be pushing a 4G iPhone to 2012.
An LTE iPhone had also been considered improbable given Apple's warnings that it would have had to make design sacrifices with at least the iPhone 4 design. Current LTE smartphones have numerous problems, including a virtual requirement for a large design to hold a big battery, high device prices, and poor battery life of as little as four to five hours.
Instead, additional sources said, Apple was due to use Qualcomm's dual-mode 3G chipset. In spite of comments from Sony's CEO, OmniVision would supply the eight-megapixel camera sensor and take help from Largan Precision to make the lensing.
The same part supplier tips had Apple already lowering its shipments of the existing iPhone 4 to prepare for the product transition. It had dropped expectations from 20 million to between 17.5 million and 18 million both in anticipation of the September iPhone 4S launch and because it could afford to coast with an estimated, but not confirmed, 1.5 million to two million units of inventory. A fixed 16 million of the new shipments would be GSM models where 1.5 million to two million would be destined for Verizon.
Production of the iPhone 4S might start later, in August versus the rumored July, but could still see a release on time.
Apple was seeing an upside to iPads, however, that would keep it ahead of new competitors. Its plans had already called for seven million to eight million iPads in the spring, but it would now ship between 10 million and 10.5 million. Its goal was still to ship between 35 million and 40 million for the whole year and would in part use the boosted production to make up for the supply constraints during the winter.