While we still do not know the full details of this year’s iPhone refresh other than the rumored 8 Megapixel camera and a launch window in September, information is leaking out about the next iPhone.
Sources claim that next year’s iPhone will drop the iTunes cable in favor of possibly a MicroUSB port to bring it in line with EU requirements for phone chargers, and also introduce an inductive charging system. Other improvements would be in the video recording abilities of the camera along with possible faster memory that may be introduced in the 2011 MacBookAir refresh. Other possibilities include the rumored A6 processor which may be introduced with an iPad3, and a prepaid version of the iPhone to fit the demands of the prepaid market. If not this year, then next year’s iPhone will also feature LTE connectivity although we still believe that this feature will be introduced this year possibly as an option you have to turn on with the understanding battery life may not be optimal.
I’d like to file this on under the Duh! section, but I don’t have one. Correction I do now. Right now Verizon’s quarterly reports will be the first to come up on wireless carriers that carry the iPhone in the States. Like before every other iPhone launch, sales soften as consumers want to wait for the next phone to come out. It’s not rocket science folks. What we do know is that Apple may release a iPhone this fall, it may be LTE enabled it may not. Apple would be smart to ship one with LTE to take advantage of the over 200 LTE markets that Verizon will have expanded to by fall 2011 and nearly complete coverage as we near the end of 2012 if Verizon sticks to stated plans. AT&T on the other hand has 5 LTE markets by the end of this year? What’s up with that? It seems just like Verizon going fiber to the home with FIOS, AT&T to save money will most likely cherry pick LTE markets Verizon has not upgraded yet and ride on their 7.2Mbps faux4G network to save a few bucks, just like they cheaped out to deploy fiber to the node and put all those refrigerator sized boxes in people’s yards.
Well according to several posts, the hacker group Lulzsec has disbanded, but not without dropping some more hacked info into people’s laps. According to reports AT&T will not begin testing a LTE iPhone until November 2011 and take that as you will, but if this is true, expect to not see a LTE iPhone at all this fall. I still find it hard to believe that Apple would ignore the competitive threat that is posted by other LTE enabled Android Phones, but most of those users get less than optimal battery life. The bad thing for Verizon Wireless is that if Apple made a iPhone 4GS, the Speed will not be any faster rates on EVDO, but more likely an A5 processor. So your speed will be faster iOS 5, not network access.
Updates as I find some interesting links on this I will post them after the jump.
Bloomberg predicts that Apple will release a faster iPhone 5, in September augmented with a faster processor, and a upgraded camera. While they go into detail on how this will help Apple compete against Android phones, they make no mention of LTE being part of this upgrade. Simply put, if Apple releases an iPhone 5 without LTE, customers may migrate over to the faster Android phones. Despite AT&T’s upgraded 3G network capable of faster speeds, rarely have I ever gotten anything better than what Verizon offers today with CDMA. Also the LTE phone makers are already hitting the iPhone with ad’s showing the speeds that the iPhone is simply not capable of in it’s current form. This would be problematic for Verizon Wireless as they would have to defend a phone that can not take advantage of the large LTE network they have been pouring billions of dollars into over the last few years.
Apple stock holders should be worried as well, the lack of a clear succession plan for Steve Jobs and the non-announcement of an iPhone 5 has dragged Apple’s stock lower over the last few weeks. Failure to keep up with market demands of a LTE equipped iPhone may trigger a consumer backlash which would further hurt Apple’s earnings and directly impact the value of Apple’s stock which may not recover appreciably if Apple delivers later a LTE iPhone and consumers still ignore it. The only deterrent for iPhone customers at this point is any heavy investments in media or apps which would make it expensive to switch over to an Android phone.