A 4G-capable iPhone will become much more likely if -- as rumored -- the Apple Inc. launch of its latest smartphone is pushed into the fall.
As Light Reading Mobile reported in March, Apple is likely to delay the release of a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) iPhone at least that long, so that it can release dual-mode versions of the phone for AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless at the same time. AT&T is expected to have its first LTE markets up in late August or early September, while Verizon will have 147 markets in the U.S. running by the end of the year.
Speculation about the next iPhone has been in overdrive since last week, when Apple announced that its June Worldwide Developers Conference will "unveil the future" of its iOS and Mac OS operating systems.
TechCrunch contributor Steve Cheney thinks a fall iPhone 5 launch makes LTE "much more likely." The speculation being that Apple will be able to source a less power-hungry LTE chipset from Qualcomm Inc. if it waits to launch the phone.
Apple COO Tim Cook said that the current generation of chipsets supporting the 4G technology placed "design constraints" that Apple wasn't ready to live with at the launch of the Verizon iPhone in January. (See Verizon Finally Gets the iPhone 4 .)
Battery life is key among those concerns, according to a neat rundown on the iPhone 5 by ZDNet's Larry Dignan. "Sure, Apple is refining iOS, but it also has to get the battery life for LTE," he states.
A wait for key components could also slow Apple's roll. Sony Corp. chief Sir Howard Stringer commented to The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg about making Apple "the best camera," and many have taken that as a sign that Sony will provide an 8-megapixel camera for the iPhone 5. Given the lack of information, however, that amounts to taking two and two getting five.
So what will hold Apple fans over if they don't get their summer iPhone fix? Well, as CNN noted, Apple's product marketing boss, Phil Schiller, tweeted recently that a white iPhone will arrive in the spring.
Read (and watch) our take on the future iPhone and LTE:
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile