LTE iPhone in 2012

Dwight Silverman:

Presumably, if the next iPhone comes with LTE, it will use newer-generation chipsets and Apple will have tuned iOS for battery longevity. But I’m not optimistic. I’m also hoping that any LTE phone Apple offers will come with a setting that turns it off and allows users to drop back to 3G when battery life is more important than raw speed.

With iOS 5 Apple disabled turning off 3G. With my iPhone 4 I liked switching to 2G because it meant I had more bars. Recently, before I upgraded to iOS 5, there were times when 3G got more bars than 2G. I thought that was unusual, but a few weeks ago when I decided to test out an iPhone-free life for the rest of the year an AT&T store representative told me the company would be phasing out 2G in the coming years. Maybe that’s one reason why iOS 5 doesn’t give you the option to shift down to 2G. There will be little to no benefit.

That being said, I’m fairly sure 3G service will be around for some time. If the iPhone 5 supports LTE the option of turning off LTE will probably be there. LTE is being lit up all over the U.S. but there are big pockets without coverage. And there will still be big pockets without coverage when the LTE iPhone 5 gets to the market sometime next year.

If the iPhone 5 does end up supporting LTE Apple would have made sure battery life is just as good as what we get on the iPhone 4S. I’d go 3G to squeeze out even more battery life or because there is no LTE coverage in my area. Most of us wouldn’t be forced to drop down to 3G because the iPhone 5 doesn’t last an entire day.

Update: via John Gruber. Guggenheim Securities, Shing Yin:

We believe Apple may have decided not to release an LTE iPhone last year in part because it did not want to cede any leverage to Verizon, which had the clear lead in LTE deployment. We think Apple preferred to see AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all offer essentially the same iPhone, so that it maximizes the role of the device (rather than the network) in consumers’ purchasing decisions. With AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all expecting to have a reasonable amount of LTE coverage by the end of this year, we think Apple is likely to be more open to offering an LTE iPhone […]

Gruber responds:

Apple will release an LTE iPhone when they can make one that meets Apple’s own standards for performance, battery life, price, and manufacturing scalability. It’s that simple.

If you see analysts adding more to what Gruber just wrote regarding a LTE iPhone consider it superfluous rubbish.