Some industry experts felt that this could give Apple enough time to add support for 4G LTE networks. But it seems unlikely based on the comments made by Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook during the quarterly earning call on Wednesday.
Tim Cook had this to say when he was asked about what Apple thoughts about the maturity of 4G LTE networks and their plans to launch products that support for 4G LTE network:
The first generation of LTE chip-sets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.
Will Strauss, President of wireless chip tracker Forward Concepts doesn’t expect chip-sets to arrive in time for iPhone 5:
They’re right that there’s nothing out there that fits the bill, and likely nothing will until the fourth quarter of this year.
Strauss explains how Apple’s competitors have managed to launch smartphones with 4G support:
The only 4G handset on the market in the United States, Verizon’s Thunderbolt, currently relies on a pair of chips to work. One chip, from Samsung, communicates with Verizon’s 4G networks, allowing the handset to achieve blazing data speeds of between 5 and 20 MBPS. Another chip, from Qualcomm, lets the handset talk to Verizon’s 3G network.
That two chip solution is needed because Verizon’s 4G network isn’t widespread enough for the carriers to offer handsets that rely on 4G alone.
Strauss goes on to add that Apple is looking for a solution where chips support 4G and 3G on a single chip so that the 4G LTE iPhone is as thin or thinner than iPhone 4 and it doesn’t consume too much battery life.
According to Strauss, chipmakers like Qualcomm, ST Ericcson and Intel will launch the next generation chips that support 4G and 3G on a single chip towards the end of this year, which means that 5th generation iPhone won’t support 4G LTE network.
Will the lack of support for 4G LTE network be a deal breaker for you to buy or upgrade to iPhone 5?