No 4G In iPhone 4S

The next-generation iPhone, scheduled for a September launch, will skip 4G for now, but may add Sprint and T-Mobile compatibility.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

May 14, 2011

2 Min Read

Reports surrounding the next-generation iPhone have ranged from the conservative to the outlandish. The latest prognostication about the next-gen iPhone's features comes from Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek.

"According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support," he wrote in a research note.

Misek's guess at the name isn't wildly far off. Remember, in 2008, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G and in 2009 introduced the iPhone 3GS -- the "S" standing for speed. The 3GS had a faster processor in it. It wouldn't be unreasonable to think that the next iPhone -- one without 4G -- would be called the iPhone 4S, especially if it includes the A5 processor as Misek suggests.

The A5 processor is the dual-core 1GHz beast that is in the iPad 2. Using the A5 in the next-gen iPhone also makes sense, and would follow Apple's pattern of behavior in the past. (The original iPad had the 1GHz A4 processor, as did the iPhone 4.) Sticking the dual-core A5 in the iPhone 4S would certainly give it a kick in the performance pants. The A5, as experienced in the iPad 2, is blazing fast.

On the radio side of the equation, Misek believes it will support HSPA+, though he doesn't note at which speeds. Right now, AT&T's HSPA+ network supports an undefined speed above 14.4Mbps in regions "with enhanced backhaul." T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, by comparison, supports 21Mbps in many markets, and those speeds will double to 42Mbps in a handful of markets starting later this year.

Speaking of T-Mobile, Misek wrote, "Industry checks indicate Apple will likely announce Sprint, T-Mobile, and China Mobile as new carriers." That means Apple plans to support a much wider range of radio configurations in the next-gen iPhone. Apple's CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless could, in theory, work on Sprint's network today. In order for the iPhone to work on T-Mobile's network, it would have to support T-Mobile's AWS 3G bands, which are different from AT&T's 3G bands.

There won't be Long Term Evolution 4G on board, however, which is sure to disappoint some. Misek said that Qualcomm's chipsets aren't ready yet for numbers that big. (Verizon Wireless has only just begun shipping LTE-equipped smartphones.)

In the mean time, Apple is happy to sell black and white iPhone 4s through both AT&T and Verizon Wireless until it gets around to announcing its next device.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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