It took more than four years for Verizon Wireless to break AT&Ts exclusive stranglehold on Apples iPhone. It might take just a few more months for customers of the remaining big U.S. carriers to get their hands on the device.
While so-called experts debate when the iPhone 5 will launch weve heard everything from this September to Summer 2012 the updated hardware could be available for Sprint and T-Mobile customers before the holiday season. Thats according to analyst Peter Misek of Jeffries & Co., who says the new iPhone will look much the same as the iPhone 4, but will be more powerful under the hood.
In a new research note, Misek said the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support.” He cites industry checks” as the basis for his findings.
Even bigger news globally than a team-up with Sprint and T-Mobile would be the introduction of telecom giant China Mobile as an Apple partner, which Misek also predicts will happen soon.
The downer, Misek predicts, is that the iPhone 5 wont support LTE, the 4G format operated by Verizon Wireless and the network that AT&T says it will start rolling out in select markets this summer. Most speed tests have put newly released 4G Android phones from Verizon namely the HTC ThunderBolt ahead of the iPhone and other competitors.
Apple might not feel an urgent need to accommodate LTE networks. Despite what seems like a new Android phone being released every day, the iPhone has maintained its market share in recent quarters. Android-based devices have overtaken the iPhone for market-share lead, but that’s many devices vs. just one.