Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

Summary: A fall launch of Apple's iPhone 5 allows more cushion for the next-generation iOS, but LTE support is also likely too.

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Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be all about the software---specifically the future of OS X and iOS 5---and most folks focused on how the iPhone 5 will be pushed off until the fall.

Now the storyline here is that the iPhone 5 will be a major upgrade with a new version of iOS and cloud services weaved into the device.

That storyline is fine as far as it goes, but the other loose end here is support for Verizon's Long-Term Evolution network. The next iPhone pretty much has to support 4G or it will have to sit out a year of speedy mobile broadband.

The LTE hook has largely been overlooked amid all the Apple talk this week. Sure, Apple is refining iOS, but it also has to get the battery life for LTE. For that matter, Apple needs a chipset compatible with both AT&T and Verizon and ready to roll with LTE. After all, AT&T will flip on its LTE network during the iPhone 5 lifecycle.

In other words, the iPhone 5 likely launch in September or October is about the hardware and network as much as it is the software. These alleged cloud services built into the iOS will work a lot better over a 4G network.

On Apple's product roadmap, a slightly later iPhone 5 launch also makes sense. An LTE iPhone gives Apple the ability to divide the product line between high end and low end devices. Apple can command a higher price for a 4G iPhone and cut the prices for its 3G models. Those 3G models go to emerging markets and global market share gains.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek wrote in a research note:

In addition to the later OS, we believe Apple wants its next phone to be LTE capable and have a chipset compatible with both AT&T and Verizon (with the LTE capability on AT&T turned on once their network is ready). Also, we believe the iPhone 5 could contain new chips from Qualcomm incorporating GPS and WiFi on the same chip (and in the future the socket could support Bluetooth and NFC).

Misek cut his estimates for Apple based on the later launch of the iPhone 5, but remains upbeat about the future. Strategically speaking, a fall launch for iPhone 5 allows the hardware (LTE support, better battery life) line up nicely with new software (iOS 5).

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, AT&T, Operating Systems, Networking, Mobility, Mobile OS, iPhone, Hardware, Wi-Fi

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9 comments
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  • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

    In another article here a chart listed how Apple apparently tries to position its product launches at the very end of a quarter so the first full quarter can show a huge quarter over quarter gain. That being a modus operandi pushing the iPhone V to the end of Q3 would seem to work for all of the rumored reasons.
    Getting on the LTE bandwagon with a 'universal' chipset would also allow the iPhone to penetrate more markets with more carriers, that is if any besides ATT and Verizon are left by the time it debuts. That speaks only to the US market though. World wide it may indeed offer more opportunity for penetration. Apple currently selling the 3GS at ATT for $50 has, anecdotally, really brought a huge number of people into the fold that otherwise wouldn't have been able. To continue that marketing schema would ensure a larger chunk of the smart phone pie as well. After all, aren't most of the Android's success due to buy one get one free?
    dheady@...
  • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

    From what I have seen Qualcomm already has a chip capable of supporting both HSPA+and LTE. It is the MDM9600

    http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2010/03/23/qualcomm-unveils-new-roadmap-gobi-connectivity-technologies

    If Apple were to use this chip, they could produce one version of the iPhone and sell it through multiple carriers. It would reduce production costs, and increase profits. This is the one thing I would like to see in the next iPhone.

    Imagine an iPhone with the A5, the Qualcomm MDM9600, 512 MB of ram, and 64 GB storage capacity for $299 with two year agreement. I for one would get it. how about you?
    Rick_K
    • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

      @Rick_K
      Though I doubt they'd up the storage amount I would definitely bite hard on such an offering. As in stay up all night to order it at 3AM not as in stand in line for 6 hours to find out I wasted my time.
      ShockMe
      • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

        @ShockMe
        <i>Though I doubt they'd up the storage amount I would definitely bite hard on such an offering. As in stay up all night to order it at 3AM not as in stand in line for 6 hours to find out I wasted my time.</i>

        I would not stand in line hoping to get one, I?d more than likely waits few days, and just walk in and get it. But I would sure love to see such a phone in the very near future.
        Rick_K
  • Good conjecture, Larry

    LTE capability might very well be the main reason for an iPhone 5 product launch "delay".
    kenosha77a
  • No hardware at WWDC?

    While there is a lot of comments on the iPhone 5 not being ready for WWDC I find it more than a little odd that Apple would not announce any new hardware at the Keynote. That one Keynote generates a huge level of media exposure for Apple - literally worth millions in advertising value - and I believe that Apple will not pass up the opportunity to move product.

    The iMac revision is due late April, MBPs & iPads have been refreshed already and iPods are normally released in the fall for the Holiday Shopping season.

    That leaves iPhones and Macs (Pro or mini) to enjoy the free PR. Looking at those options I wouldn't write off the iPhone 5 for WWDC yet.
    Ken_z
  • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

    No.
    james347
  • Carrier roadmaps show otherwise

    Having seen Verizons, at&t and Sprints roadmap for LTE, Wi-Max there will not be a really large market covering LTE this year. Most of the build out is not till 2012. I'm not saying Apple couldn't roll a device out but less then 200 markets this year is not going to allow Apple a big marketing campaign
    MobileAdmin
  • RE: Apple's iPhone 5 this fall: Is it all about the LTE?

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