4G-enabled iPhone rumored to be undergoing testing; problems inevitable

Summary:An iPhone ready for 4G LTE networks could be on the way. But do we really want a 4G-enabled iPhone just yet?

As September gets closer, rumors about the next generation of the iPhone continue to build up. Most recently, loose reports swirled about an iCloud-powered iPhone to a possible (now debunked) September 7th announcement date.

Here's the latest potential feature: 4G connectivity. Boy Genius Report is saying that it has confirmed that "Apple’s carrier partners are testing iPhone models with LTE capability." BGR also claims to have evidence about "an internal iOS test build from one of Apple’s major carrier partners."

This might come as even bigger news to the 34 percent of iPhone users who think they already have 4G connections.

It's quite possible that Apple could try to push forward with 4G and stick it on the iPhone. After all, several other smartphones from major Android manufacturers such as LG, Samsung and Google's latest purchase, Motorola, have released 4G-enabled handhelds this year. Just look at the LG Revolution, Motorola Photon and Samsung Infuse.

However, as with any new iPhone release it seems, there are going to be big problems if the next iPhone is 4G ready. Here's a couple reasons as to why.

One of the biggest problems with 4G-enabled gadgets is the battery life. 4G LTE technology is notorious for being a rapid juice drainer. If one is lucky, he or she might be able to squeeze up to six hours after a full charge. That's just not good enough for a smartphone, which at this point needs to be ready to go for at least a full work day.

Also, it's not going to be worth it to most iPhone customers to have 4G if they don't live in an area where there is 4G access. Although it might get a lot bigger very soon if the merger with T-Mobile gets passed by the FCC, AT&T's 4G LTE mobile broadband network is rather limited in terms of geography. Verizon's 4G LTE network spans a bit wider, but even that won't fully blanket its 3G network until 2013.

Given just these two reasons, it looks evident that it might be too soon for a 4G iPhone. The rumor that the next generation of the iPhone is really just a filler, much like the 3GS. Thus, it would be better for Apple to hold off on 4G until the sixth version, which is said to be the next time we see a drastic design change as we did with the iPhone 4.

Related:

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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