New Networks Hint at an iPhone 5 Timeline

11:30 AM -- If you want to know when a 4G-capable iPhone is likely to arrive, your best bet is to closely follow the rollout of the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless LTE networks.

Apple is likely developing a dual-mode Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 3G GSM iPhone for AT&T. Verizon, meanwhile, should get a version that supports LTE but reverts to its 3G CDMA flavor when out of the 4G coverage footprint.

The balancing act for Apple and its U.S. carrier partners is when exactly to launch the two phone variants. So far, we've seen speculation on everything from a standard summer launch to an autumn debut or even pushing off the launch until 2012.

If Apple wants to implement 4G LTE in its next phones, however, a fall date or later seems more likely. In part, this is because AT&T is behind Verizon on its LTE deployment with initial markets slated for launch this summer and up to 75 million people covered by year's end. In contrast, Verizon already covers more than 110 million people with the technology and expects to have LTE in 147 markets by the end of 2011.

Early favors Verizon
An earlier launch for an LTE iPhone might be seen as giving Verizon the upper hand by AT&T. I think Apple is unlikely to want to aggravate its long-standing carrier partner in that way.

Launching both flavors of the iPhone 5 at the same time seems most reasonable. This points to a launch date well beyond this summer. As has been widely reported, phone vendors are also currently working to tweak new LTE devices for performance issues -- such as battery life and Apple is no exception. More time to engineer the device is a good thing.

What could be
I think Apple could go for a dual-core processor upgrade and maybe even a HSPA+ phone -- all wrapped up in a new white shell -- if it wants to release an iPhone 5 this summer, but I doubt you'll see an iPhone 5 that's 4G ready.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 5:08:40 PM
re: New Networks Hint at an iPhone 5 Timeline

Really good info as always.

I probably posted this already, but is there a hint of a 4G iPad yet?  It would probably come out in either ATT or VZW models. To me that's the main reason I would upgrade my iPad.

I'm watching the VZW 4G handsets closely.  My daughter jumped on the HTC in Orange County CA as soon as it came out, but consistent with many the 4G sucks the life blood out of the phone.  She bought one of those portable charging blocks she can take with her to work and keep the Thunderbolt charged.

As there won't be VZW 4G in central Virginia for a good while I'm hoping they really have a great 4G phone developed by then.  iPhone would be cool but I'm open for anything.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:08:39 PM
re: New Networks Hint at an iPhone 5 Timeline

Spoke to our UBM TechInsights people about a 4G iPad. They seem to think a launch late in 2011 or early 2012 is a possibility. Early 2012 would probably make it the iPad 3.

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 5:08:38 PM
re: New Networks Hint at an iPhone 5 Timeline

Thanks for the info.  I would imagine it's being developed concurrently, or will benefit from work on, 4G for iPhone, or "iPhone 5".

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