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Rumor: Apple's carrier partners are testing a 4G-capable LTE iPhone

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
A new rumor claims that carriers who support Apple's iPhone are testing a new prototype handset that is capable of connecting to high-speed 4G long-term evolution data networks.

Though there is no indication that Apple's forthcoming fifth-generation iPhone will include LTE compatibility, Boy Genius Report claimed on Monday that Apple's carrier partners are testing an iPhone prototype with LTE. The rumor is evidence that Apple is pursuing support of the high-speed 4G network standard.

The report includes images said to be code from the firmware of an internal iOS test build issued to "one of Apple's major carrier partners." The references to LTE support are included in a property list, or .plist, file.

Specifically, a "key" tag allegedly discovered in the testing code references "Connected mode LTE Intra-frequency Measurement." It offers no indication of what iPhone model might include 4G support.

In the U.S., Verizon's LTE network launched in late 2010 in major markets across the country, while AT&T plans to have a full-fledged 4G network in 15 markets available to 70 million customers by the end of 2011.

Reports have suggested that an LTE-capable iPhone is likely more than a year away, as one recent report claimed that appropriate chips from Qualcomm are not ready for the iPhone's required production levels. Also a concern is battery life with devices running power-hungry 4G antennas.



Commenting on LTE networks in April, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said his company has been extremely happy with the performance of its 3G handsets, including the iPhone 4, leaving him in no rush to produce an LTE-capable smartphone.

"The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make," Cook said.
post #2 of 37
The rumor is evidence?

Seems to be contradictory terms...
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post #3 of 37
1) Isn't this about the time each year we hear about carriers testing handsets for the following year's release?

2) I'd like to see an LTE iPhone this year but I haven't seen any evidence that the chips are small and efficient enough to make it a viable options for an iPhone with a 3.5" display. I'm much more inclined to think Apple will release a true "world mode" device this year if they have the extra room and add LTE next year. However, if we're talking about Apple growing the brand by releasing a ≈4" display iPhone then they may have more room for additional components to make LTE a viable option.
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post #4 of 37
15 markets, not 15 million.
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Isn't this about the time each year we hear about carriers testing handsets for the following year's release?

2) I'd like to see an LTE iPhone this year but I haven't seen any evidence that the chips are small and efficient enough to make it a viable options for an iPhone with a 3.5" display. I'm much more inclined to think Apple will release a true "world mode" device this year if they have the extra room and add LTE next year. However, if we're talking about Apple growing the brand by releasing a ≈4" display iPhone then they may have more room for additional components to make LTE a viable option.

Agreed, I don't think we'll be seeing an LTE iPhone in 2011, given the reports of how bad 4G android handset battery life is I'm not sure we'd even want one.
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Agreed, I don't think we'll be seeing an LTE iPhone in 2011, given the reports of how bad 4G android handset battery life is I'm not sure we'd even want one.

I can't completely completely rule it out because, 1) it feels like it's about time for Apple to expand the brand which to me means a larger display that could potentially handle such components, 2) this additional 3-4 months of the iPhone 4 seems mostly likely due to a HW delay of the 5th gen. iPhone which could be from securing a certain LTE chip, 3) even AT&T is pushing their LTE adoption up faster than expected even though they haven't done a full rollout of HSPA+.

How are countries outside the US doing with LTE networks and handsets?
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post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Agreed, I don't think we'll be seeing an LTE iPhone in 2011, given the reports of how bad 4G android handset battery life is I'm not sure we'd even want one.

No to mention the LTE network being so sparse currently. A year from now sounds more accurate to me.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

... I'd like to see an LTE iPhone this year but I haven't seen any evidence that the chips are small and efficient enough to make it a viable options for an iPhone with a 3.5" display. ....

Well the chip already exists as you've posted yourself, and it's been released for early testing, and Apple is already testing it if the BGR report is true.

The only thing we really don't know is if it's capable of being manufactured in quantity at the moment, or at least the quantity that Apple needs.

They could also announce it in October and not release it for a few more months. The October release date already presupposes a loss of some sales running up to the holiday season anyway.

Apple will want to be the very first on the market with a good LTE solution, I would expect waiting until even next summer would mean that they wouldn't be able to do that as all the other guys will have the same chip at the same time.

Whatever the release date is, I would expect Apple to be first out the gate with the new chip.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Agreed, I don't think we'll be seeing an LTE iPhone in 2011, given the reports of how bad 4G android handset battery life is I'm not sure we'd even want one.

Agreed. Apple has made it clear more than once that they don't think LTE is ready. Although Apple sometimes speaks out of both sides of their mouths, they generally are not disingenuous in making such statements.

Apple is quite judicious about when to be early adopters of technology. The fact that they came *late* to the 3G party is good evidence they will also be *latecomers* to the LTE party. And in reality, LTE is not even true 4G.
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can't completely completely rule it out because, 1) it feels like it's about time for Apple to expand the brand which to me means a larger display that could potentially handle such components, 2) this additional 3-4 months of the iPhone 4 seems mostly likely due to a HW delay of the 5th gen. iPhone which could be from securing a certain LTE chip, 3) even AT&T is pushing their LTE adoption up faster than expected even though they haven't done a full rollout of HSPA+.

How are countries outside the US doing with LTE networks and handsets?

Last I heard in the UK they were still dickering over the exact way that bandwidth was going to be auctioned. France was in about the same place. Germany and the Scandi countries are probably ahead, I'm not sure how good their 4G cover is though. The Finns probably have the best, they tend to be ahead on the mobile curve for obvious reasons.

I think a bigger phone is possible, indeed given that the A5 is bigger than the A4 it may be necessary - I'm just not convinced that LTE is on the cards before 2012.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

No to mention the LTE network being so sparse currently. A year from now sounds more accurate to me.

That's a more reasonable assumption based on the fact that most of the world does not have LTE yet. Commercial LTE networks are running in Scandinavia, maybe a couple of other countries, but by no means is LTE widely deployed right now.

The landscape will be different a year from now.

The logical progression would be an HSPA+ compatible handset from Apple this year, not LTE.

I certainly believe there are LTE-equipped Franken-iPhones sitting in a lab in Cupertino. but we won't see one on a store shelf for quite a while.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Well the chip already exists as you've posted yourself, and it's been released for early testing, and Apple is already testing it if the BGR report is true.

The only thing we really don't know is if it's capable of being manufactured in quantity at the moment, or at least the quantity that Apple needs.

They could also announce it in October and not release it for a few more months. The October release date already presupposes a loss of some sales running up to the holiday season anyway.

Apple will want to be the very first on the market with a good LTE solution, I would expect waiting until even next summer would mean that they wouldn't be able to do that as all the other guys will have the same chip at the same time.

Whatever the release date is, I would expect Apple to be first out the gate with the new chip.

1) I'm not sure if a good LTE solution yet exists. I only suggested that I think a 2012 is most likely, which implies I think it technically exists and, as you say, may not be ready for mass production at this time.

2) I don't think it's advantageous for Apple to announce the LTE version of the iPhone and then release it months later. Anything after mid-October is an unlikely release date. In fact, anything into October means there is already a delay they are having trouble getting ahead of. With a product that will likely selling a million a week on average over the next year that's not something you want to do going into a holiday shopping season. At that point you announce a mid-cycle release after the new year (which they've done before) or you just wait until the next planned release cycle (which they've done before). Remember, the original iPhone arrived when people expected '3G' and '3G was pretty power efficient according to most of its users, at least in comparison to LTE devices currently on the market.
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post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Last I heard in the UK they were still dickering over the exact way that bandwidth was going to be auctioned. France was in about the same place. Germany and the Scandi countries are probably ahead, I'm not sure how good their 4G cover is though. The Finns probably have the best, they tend to be ahead on the mobile curve for obvious reasons.

I think a bigger phone is possible, indeed given that the A5 is bigger than the A4 it may be necessary - I'm just not convinced that LTE is on the cards before 2012.

And HSPA+ which T-Mobile USA and AT&T call '4G' is much more important to most of the world right now. The only one that seems to be missing out on considerably faster data by such a phone would be Verizon whose '3G' isn't nearly as future forward as the 3GSM-based networks.
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post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

That's a more reasonable assumption based on the fact that most of the world does not have LTE yet. Commercial LTE networks are running in Scandinavia, maybe a couple of other countries, but by no means is LTE widely deployed right now.

The landscape will be different a year from now.

The logical progression would be an HSPA+ compatible handset from Apple this year, not LTE.

I certainly believe there are LTE-equipped Franken-iPhones sitting in a lab in Cupertino. but we won't see one on a store shelf for quite a while.

Verizon has LTE coverage in many cities in the US and will have many more by years end. LTE could certainly explain why the iPhone5 has been delayed.
post #15 of 37
"Boy Genius Report claimed"

That's where I stopped reading...
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post #16 of 37
Apple supposed worked 18 months on the iphone 4 and it was 3g. The notion that they would do the same for a 4g phone is not shocking. In fact I would expect to find out that they worked more like 24 months on it which is why they knew it wasn't ready for a Fall 2011 release. Hell it might not be ready for a Summer/Fall 2012 release. Testing doesn't equal passing after all.

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post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

Verizon has LTE coverage in many cities in the US and will have many more by years end. LTE could certainly explain why the iPhone5 has been delayed.

It seems to me that Apple will not transition to LTE, until they can do so on both/all US carriers. Having verizon iPhones on LTE and AT&T on 3G would not make sense, in my opinion.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post

Verizon has LTE coverage in many cities in the US and will have many more by years end. LTE could certainly explain why the iPhone5 has been delayed.

You're missing the point.

The point is that the rest of the world doesn't have LTE except a handful of markets. Apple sells half of its iPhones internationally.

They aren't including LTE until most of the world has functional LTE networks. They will include the technology when it will benefit most of the users; otherwise it's a costly and useless addition for the majority. It really doesn't matter how much LTE coverage Verizon Wireless can offer. They are one mobile operator in one market, an important one to be sure, but it still represents a fraction of iPhone users.
post #19 of 37
Well I think it's pretty clear that the next iPhone will be called iPhone 4G.
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post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Well I think it's pretty clear that the next iPhone will be called iPhone 4G.

I think it's pretty clear that that's abject nonsense.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #21 of 37
The Qualcomm MSM9615 chip is probably in test manufacturing now with TSMC, so its entirely likely Apple got their hands on 100 or so chips and built LTE iPhones around them.

My question is when would they be released? I don't want to buy an iPhone 5 in October and then have an LTE iPhone debut 8 months later in May or June.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by siromega View Post

I don't want to buy an iPhone 5 in October and then have an LTE iPhone debut 8 months later in May or June.

What universe do you think this is? Apple hasn't released an iDevice update less than a year later in the past six years.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Agreed, I don't think we'll be seeing an LTE iPhone in 2011, given the reports of how bad 4G android handset battery life is I'm not sure we'd even want one.

Pretty much nobody has access to 4G, so I'm pretty glad that Apple is not going to release one. We're not ready yet.

Only when 4G is pretty much standard everywhere - that is when Apple will start to become interested. Apple would never do anything that would reduce battery life. And Apple will never release a product unless nearly every one of its customers could benefit. Can you imagine Apple Care explaining to people that even though they paid for a 4G phone, they can't use it?

It is better to wait.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

What universe do you think this is? Apple hasn't released an iDevice update less than a year later in the past six years.

I could really care less about Verizon LTE support on the next iPhone. What I want is for Apple and Verizon to support simultaneous voice over data, SVOD, over CDMA which is supported by Qualcomm chipsets and can also be supported by Verizon's cell sites.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I could really care less about Verizon LTE support on the next iPhone. What I want is for Apple and Verizon to support simultaneous voice over data, SVOD, over CDMA which is supported by Qualcomm chipsets and can also be supported by Verizon's cell sites.

Pet Peeve alert: What you actually meant to say (I assume) is that you could not care less.
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post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Apple will never release a product unless nearly every one of its customers could benefit. Can you imagine Apple Care explaining to people that even though they paid for a 4G phone, they can't use it?

It is better to wait.

The 3G came out long before AT&T had 3G service rolled out in any but a few markets. I was stuck using EDGE for almost two years before 3G towers were up in my neighborhood, but the day they were up, I could use them. Same with millions of others.
Apple drives the implementation of new technologies. They partner with companies to lead the R&D so that they get it before anyone else (ala Thunderbolt). When Apple announces that existing 4G chips aren't up to par, the unspoken take away should be "So we're working with Qualcomm on one that is". A delay in release of the next handset provided two benefits, market expansion and R&D. An 18 month iPhone cycle without any real technological innovation? Don't count on it.
post #27 of 37
Actually, Apple is very selective in implementing new technologies.

They supported WiFi very early yet their Macs still don't have built-in Blu-ray drives nor USB 3.0. They use more NAND memory chips than anyone else, yet they don't have things like fingerprint scanners or built-in 3G cellular data on their notebooks. Apple is quick to drop support of legacy hardware on their computers, however the telephone market simply won't let you drop GSM/GPRS.

Historically, Apple has been quite conservative about the network technologies it supports on its iPhones. Here's the key: they look at the dominant cellular technologies with a global worldview, not just taking a narrow, US-centric perspective.

Today, LTE is spottily deployed in the United States by one carrier, has some presence in Scandivania, but that's about it. By contrast, HSPA+ is widely deployed throughout the world, including the U.S. (both AT&T and T-Mobile USA). It is far more likely that Apple will forgo supporting LTE this year and instead focus on an HSPA+ compatible handset design.

HSPA+ would benefit far more iPhone buyers than LTE would at this time.
post #28 of 37
No surprise that new products might be getting tested. How else are they going to verify they work?
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Pet Peeve alert: What you actually meant to say (I assume) is that you could not care less.

Now, now. Maybe he COULD care less about LTE. He might like it juuuuust a little but not care about it the other 90%.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

What universe do you think this is? Apple hasn't released an iDevice update less than a year later in the past six years.

In the first 2 years it would have been extremely difficult for them to do this, given that iOS devices did not exist...
15" uMacbook Pro 2.4Ghz 8GB 128GB SSD/500GB 7200rpm, iMac 27" i5 16GB 1TB, MacBook Air 8GB 256GB, iPhone 5s 64GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPad 4 64GB, Apple TV2/3, iPod Nano 2nd gen, iPod Touch 4th gen,...
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post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

In the first 2 years it would have been extremely difficult for them to do this, given that iOS devices did not exist...

iDevice is a colloquial term for all portable Apple devices that begin with a lowercase letter I. You should know this.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #32 of 37
Apple should astound us this year provided they don't pull the killer features - its that close.

Most of the iPhone 5 delay has been down to two things:

1: A5 shrink which retains two cores but clocked at 1.5ghz per core.Apple had issues with yield


2:Uprated GPU SGX543MP4

3: LTE. Apple has on it's hands large numbers of the new LTE chip from
Qualcomm. a chip that is present in the prototypes with the networks world wide. Job's himself personally authorised the wait for LTE based on the battery life and data throughput guarantees he received personally from Qualcomm



discuss
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andyd View Post

Apple should astound us this year provided they don't pull the killer features - its that close.

Most of the iPhone 5 delay has been down to two things:

1: A5 shrink which retains two cores but clocked at 1.5ghz per core.Apple had issues with yield


2:Uprated GPU SGX543MP4

3: LTE. Apple has on it's hands large numbers of the new LTE chip from
Qualcomm. a chip that is present in the prototypes with the networks world wide. Job's himself personally authorised the wait for LTE based on the battery life and data throughput guarantees he received personally from Qualcomm



discuss

1. What's with the whacked font?
2. Who wrote this?
3. Processor speed is pretty much meaningless.
4. Won't be necessary (or utilized).
5. No LTE. Period.

And I'm absolutely positive that you don't know that "Job's" himself "personally authorized" anything.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andyd View Post

Apple should astound us this year provided they don't pull the killer features - its that close...
(mindless blathering deleted)


discuss

Poppycock.

Especially the part about Job's authorizing the LTE wait. This is entirely bogus and a complete insult to AI readers' intelligence. Show the documentation if you want to back up your claim: we know you can't.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I could really care less about Verizon LTE support on the next iPhone. What I want is for Apple and Verizon to support simultaneous voice over data, SVOD, over CDMA which is supported by Qualcomm chipsets and can also be supported by Verizon's cell sites.


Hello,

CDMA technology does not allow for simultaneous voice and data. However, you are able to use voice/data if using Wifi for data. This will allow you to keep a data connection and a voice call.

Hope this helps!

^CB
VZW Support
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by VZW_CS View Post

Hello,

CDMA technology does not allow for simultaneous voice and data. However, you are able to use voice/data if using Wifi for data. This will allow you to keep a data connection and a voice call.

Hope this helps!

^CB
VZW Support
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

Yeah, corporate shill, we know.

Instead of wasting time with social networking, how about getting Verizon as a corporation working on voice over CDMA or helping to finalize the voice portion of the LTE spec so that we can actually have it?

Oh, and while I'm talking to a Verizon rep, stop making data plans forced. I couldn't care less about wasting my money on your nonsensical 2GB plans.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yeah, corporate shill, we know.

Instead of wasting time with social networking, how about getting Verizon as a corporation working on voice over CDMA or helping to finalize the voice portion of the LTE spec so that we can actually have it?

Oh, and while I'm talking to a Verizon rep, stop making data plans forced. I couldn't care less about wasting my money on your nonsensical 2GB plans.

Amen! +1
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