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iPhone 5: Looking Ahead to LTE

Although a disappointment on launch day when we learned there would be no iPhone 5 in 2011, the iPhone 4S is absolutely killing it, breaking Apple sales records right and left.

Apple, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint all announced giant demand for the device last week and those sales could be just a drop in the bucket for what the future holds. China Mobiles chairman, in an interview with Reuters Monday, said Apple promised to make the carrier the largest in the world based on subscriber numbers an iPhone based on TD-LTE, Chinas homegrown 4G technology. While no date has been announced, China Mobile said the two companies are discussing the details.”

China Mobile has 630 million subscribers, a number that makes AT&T and Verizon Wireless 100 million each seem paltry. And consider this: Despite no agreement with Apple, 10 million China Mobile subscribers already use the iPhone for 2G talk and text services. Just imagine how big an LTE iPhone could be.

The idea of a TD-LTE iPhone would have to get Apple fans in the U.S. excited. Its hard to imagine the release of an LTE phone in China and not one in the U.S. LTE the 4G technology now offered by both Verizon Wireless and AT&T was probably the most talked-about potential feature leading up to the release of the iPhone 4S, and that fervor is only likely to build in the time we have to wait before Apples next iPhone release.

So just when will that be? Most so-called experts are predicting anywhere between next summer to the end of 2012 but since Apple has released a new iPhone every year since 2007, thats not really going out on a limb.

Echoing the belief that the iPhone 5 will be an LTE device, analyst Ashok Kumar at Rodman & Renshaw last week said the next iPhone will be a cult classic” of sorts (and what iPhone hasnt been?) because Steve Jobs was involved in every step of the process from concept to design. Jobs, the late CEO and company founder, died earlier this month at the age of 56.

While a million analysts will make a billion predictions about new phone specs over the course of the next nine months to a year, its still fun to consider them. Kumar forecasts the iPhone 5 will be slimmer, with a bigger display than the 3.5-inch 4S. A source told CNET that the 2012 version of the device will be a complete redesign” that Steve Jobs dedicated all of his time to.” Apparently Jobs was less involved in the development of the 4S as he began to realize his own mortality.


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