A report on TechCrunch pours some cold water on the idea that the still-rumored Verizon iPhone will support LTE, Verizon's faster 4G standard. Steve Cheney, who was one of the first out of the gate
with reports from China that Apple was building a Verizon iPhone, says that the device to be released in January will be compatible only with the existing CDMA 3G standard
. According to his report, a dual-mode phone will be out by mid-2011, with LTE support on hold until 2012.
Following the Wall Street Journal
's report on a Verizon iPhone that would support an "alternative wireless technology," some observers (like the Journal's Martin Peers
and, well, me
) speculated that the technology would be LTE, the fourth-generation (4G) wireless standard coming to Verizon and AT&T over the next couple of years. However, Cheney is reporting - without naming any sources - that neither the Verizon iPhone nor the fifth-generation iPhone due in June 2011 will support LTE. Instead, the Verizon phone would have a CDMA chip made by Qualcomm, and the 5G would come with a hybrid chip that could work on either Verizon's CDMA network or the GSM system used by AT&T. Cheney refers back to Apple's decision to support only the pre-3G EDGE standard with the original iPhone, at a time when 3G networks were much more widespread and mature than LTE will be in 2011. Apple may not want to be the LTE "guinea pig," Cheney says, asserting that "the reality is that 4G deployments will take much longer than the carriers are letting on." LTE support would therefore have to wait until the sixth-generation iPhone is released in 2012.
There are, however, drawbacks to going with CDMA, in addition to it being a dead-end standard. Battery life tends to be shorter with power-hungry CDMA radios, and what's perhaps most significant, simultaneous voice and data transmission is not possible. In a separate story in the Wall Street Journal
, company executive Brian Higgins claimed that the carrier was working on a solution to that problem but gave no schedule for the fix, saying that "for a vast majority of customers, I don't think it's terribly important." The article also quotes Brad Shewmake, spokesman for the CDMA Development Group, as saying that a solution - presumably Voice over Rev. A (VoRA)
- will become commercially available in the first half of next year.