The internet was abuzz with rumors of the past few days reporting that this year's Apple WWDC would not feature any new hardware, and would focus strictly on software (as the invitation suggests.) WWDC has been the place where the iPhone 3G, 3Gs, and 4 have all been announced, so it would seem likely that Apple would announce the fifth-generation iPhone at WWDC 2011. Many reports however, are now suggesting otherwise, but today TechCrunch has released a detailed report
explaining what they believe to coming in iOS 5, and then continues to mention why we may not see an iPhone 5 at WWDC, and their answer is simple: LTE.
LTE (short for Long Term Evolution) is the technology behind both AT&T's and Verizon's 4G network. Verizon is slightly ahead of their nemesis in their rollout schedule, but both companies should have much of the United States blanketed in 4G LTE by the end of 2013. Verizon in fact, just released their first Android device that is capable of running on the new 4G network, and reviews have widely praised
the incredible speed (particularly compared to other technologies that are being touted as '4G,' such as Sprint's WiMax and T-Mobile's HSPDA) that rivals home broadband. It may make sense for Apple to continue its work on 4G LTE over the summer, and then release one single device that was capable of running old protocols (GSM and CDMA) as well as LTE. In fact, Apple's current Qualcomm chip in the Verizon iPhone 4 is already capable of both GSM and CDMA
. Apple just needs to redesign their antenna to accommodate it.
This rumor makes the previous rumors of a delayed iPhone make a whole lot of sense. It also is in line with previous reports that the iPhone 5 will not see a significant exterior redesign (besides the occasional report of a four-inch screen- I wouldn't count on it.) This could be because the significant redesign would happen on the interior
. TecCrunch is quick to point out that Apple COO "addressed the LTE topic directly," when he stated at the launch of the Verizon iPhone: " 'The first generation LTE chipsets force some design compromises. Some of which we would not make.' ”
Apple is undoubtedly preparing an LTE iPhone, the question is whether we'll see it in the next revision of the iPhone or not. TechCrunch's analysts suggest a less than ten-percent chance of 4G LTE coming to the iPhone 5 if it gets released this summer, but a fifty-percent chance if the phone is released this fall. It may make sense for Apple to wait now, in order to truly provide a next-generation handset and not fall-behind by not including 4G LTE in the iPhone until summer 2012.
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