Apples next iPhone will support 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, according to a new report by DigiTimes.
A new version of iPhone to be launched in the second half of 2012 is very likely to support LTE as well, suggested the publications March 12 article, which cited unnamed smartphone makers based in Taiwan.
While the DigiTimes track record is sometimes spotty when it comes to Apple rumors, the appearance of 4G LTE on the latest iPad is nonetheless a strong indicator that the next iPhone will follow suit.
During the New York City unveiling of the iPhone 4 on Verizon in January 2011, then-Apple COO and current CEO Tim Cook suggested that adapting the device to LTE would have resulted in compromises that Apple refused to make. In the year-plus since that event, Apples engineers have presumably wrestled with the best way to install a 4G LTE antenna in a small form factor without compromising its design or performance.
Although the next iPhones release is almost certainly many months away, rumors about the devices possible features have been drifting around the blogosphere since late last year. In January, Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac reported that the iPhone 5 will feature a bigger screen and a redesigned casing. That report cited a reliable source at Foxconn in China, referring to the factory where iPhones are made.
Over the summer of 2011, analysts and pundits seemed certain the company would release an iPhone 5 with a radically altered design and powerful new hardware. In October, however, Apple executives unveiled the iPhone 4S, whose exterior seemed virtually identical to the iPhone 4. Despite that similarity, a collection of new featuresincluding Siri, a voice-activated digital personal assistantquickly helped the new smartphone become a bestseller.
For its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, Apple reported sales of some 27.04 million iPhones. During the Jan. 24 earnings call, Cook attributed the iPhones robust sales numbers to a combination of what he called breathtaking customer reception as well as pent-up demand from a particularly long gap between new iPhone releases.
In order to sustain that sort of sales run, inevitably Apple will need to release a next-generation iPhone capable of matching or surpassing rival devices running Google Android and Windows Phone. That could very well mean the next iPhone comes with 4G LTE support.