HSPA+ Could Still Be in Apple's Future
Apple doesn't typically live on the cutting edge of cellular capabilities -- its first iPhone didn't even support 3G GSM. The design, interface, and applications are what makes the iPhone a top seller, rather than the geeky data rates. The firm will have to look at making the jump to HSPA+ with its next generation of phones and possibly even try and get to Long Term Evolution proto-4G technology too.
This is happening behind the scenes now. Recall that Apple was advertising a position for a "Cellular Technology Software Manager" back in March and wanted someone familiar with 21-Mbit/s HSPA+ and LTE, according to Electronista.
This suggests that at some point, maybe in 2011, Apple will be able to support AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s 14.4-Mbit/s 3G upgrade and 21-Mbit/s upgrades from other international GSM carriers. The 21-Mbit/s upgrade to high-speed packet access 3G is the fastest that can be got out of the technology without adding additional antennas to the handset and base stations.
I still think 2012 is a much more likely date for an LTE update. AT&T's LTE deployment will be gathering steam in 2012, and Verizon Wireless has said that it might start offering voice-over-LTE in that year (so, Apple wouldn't have to deal with dual-mode LTE and CDMA). Waiting until 2012 for an LTE iPhone gives Apple a much wider market to sell a phone to, both here and abroad.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile