Three reasons why Apple’s next-gen iPhone won’t support 4G LTE

Lalit Sharma writes for TechzTalk, “there are three very good reasons why Apple will wait for next generation LTE chipsets, which Qualcomm will start sampling by end of 2011 with volume production aimed for 2012.”

• Size and Power efficiency: Qualcomm has already announced second generation LTE chips that will be based on 28nm process technology resulting in size reduction by as much as 50% and power efficiency improvement by at least 67%. [UPDATE: 6:25pm EDT: Percentages fixed by TechzTalk.]
Design Compromises: For example, the HTC ThunderBolt is 0.56-inch thick, whereas iPhone 4 is just 0.37-inch thick, and yet many reviewers rate ThunderBolt’s battery life as very poor when compared to the iPhone.
• Cost: Adding LTE chipset to iPhone could increase the production cost 25%. For half of that cost Apple could add more RAM, bigger storage and faster dual-core processor resulting in improved user experience.

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Hi
      Thanks for pointing out the obvious mistake I got my numbers wrong. The Actual numbers that I got from Qualcomm were 50% size and 67% power reduction. I have made the changes. Thank you again everyone for pointing it out. And thank you Macdailynews for posting our article.

  1. I’m confused – how can you have a size reduction of 100%, does that mean it occupies no space? and a power efficiency of 150%? does that mean it generates power rather than using it?

    1. Such a change is unlikely just one year after Apple made a major change with the Retina Display. If Apple wanted to go to a 4-inch screen, it would have been done last year.

      Also, the difference between 3.5 and 4 is not very much. For such a small change in screen dimension, does Apple create a whole new resolution standard and fragment the platform? Or does Apple spread out the current 960×640 pixels a bit to cover the slightly larger display. If the latter, it would be a useless “improvement” because it does NOT improve functionality, while adding to size and weight (and reducing battery life).

      1. Ken, “retina display” is based on pixel DENSITY not a constant x by y number. In order for apple to offer a retina display on a larger screen the x and y will HAVE toincrease accordingly……by definition.

        As a case look at the iMac. Although these are not retina pixel density screens the philosophy is still the bigger the screen the higher the pixel density. All other Apple wanna be’s fool their customers by spreading a constant number of pixels over many sizes of screen. Apple does not.

        1. What you say is obviously correct. That’s why I’m asking the question…

          IF Apple made a relatively small increase in screen size for iPhone 5 (the subject of my reply), (1) do they change the “x by y number” to create a new standard iPhone resolution and fragment the platform. Seems unlikely. OR (2) do they just use the same 960×640 resolution on a slightly larger screen. Seems unlikely (for the reasons you state).

          Therefore, it is most likely that Apple will continue using the current “Retina Display.” In fact, I think the next iPhone and the one after it will using the current display.

          1. For a small display, there is no reason to change the pixel count from that of the current iPhone 4. The pixel density would drop a bit going to a 4″ diagonal display (probably around 280dpi, at a rough guess), but it would still be plenty sharp. Apple would probably stop calling it a retinal display since it would be below the threshold that Apple previously set for that moniker. But it would still look great and might actually be easier for some people to read.

            Consider that current HDTVs are 1920×1080, at best, regardless of size. A 60″ HDTV has the same number of pixels as a 42″ HDTV if they are both 1080p, but the pixels are larger or smaller. The change from a 3.5″ to a 4″ display won’t change Apple’s approach. Apple is maintaining square pixels and has previously used a pixel doubling approach (480×320 to 960×640) to maximize app flexibility between iOS devices. I don’t see any reason for Apple to deviate from that approach (unless they implement true resolution independence for iOS).

            1. Or you could just hold the current iPhone about 10% closer to your eyes… 🙂

              If resolution stays the same, Apple will not make the screen larger to draw more power, and make the overall iPhone larger and heavier (and not be able to call the screen a “Retina Display” anymore).

              I think the next iPhone will be a speed boost with the A5, with the same Retina Display (maybe thinner). The one after that will be “4G,” with the same Retina Display. The one after that (2013) will be big leap forward in EVERYTHING, like going from iPhone 3gs to iPhone 4.

              Interestingly, that year will also be about the time that Lion is two years old, and the Mac will also be ready to make a big leap forward. And I hope one of those changes will be displays (for both iOS devices and Macs) with real resolution independence.

    2. This is the same exact B.S. MDN takes were proposing back in the day…the iPhone did not need 3G and EDGE was good enough.

      The iphone needs 4G and Apple should get into a deal with T-Mobile and stop doing AT&T’s dirty work by not supplying a T-mobile iphone. We do not need AT&T put us through telecom hell again. It sucked the first time in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

      just my $0.02

      1. As long as it doesn’t kill battery life. You may recall that Apple also caught a lot of flack for inadequate battery life (not because it was actually substandard, but because everyone was actually using the iPhone a whole lot more than a regular phone). Apple made the right call to stick with EDGE until the next generation 3G chipsets were released. And Apple is doing the right thing now by patiently waiting until 4G is ready for primetime.

        Apple is *not* going to put in 4G just because of your $0.02.

  2. I second the LTE is useless right now. Look at the horrible return rate for the Thunderbolt. Yeah, sounds like fun to claim specs but deliver horrible customer service. Where does LTE work as described? Make 3G perfect first, I never have full 3G bars. Speed is plenty fast, turn on 3G HSPA and I’m good. Make 3G towers have better battery life.

    LTE is something other companies tout as specs cause they don’t have the iPhone.

    1. True, LTE is rare right now, but who buys an iPhone for right now ONLY?

      Most people get an iPhone with a two year contract. (That “most” might be as high as 97-98% but I’d be shocked if that “most” was not at least 90%.)

      That means if you buy the iPhone “5” in mid 2012 (making the fairly safe assumption that there will not be any significant updates between September 2011 and mid 2012) then the purchaser with a two year contract is pretty much stuck with it until mid 2014.

      Are you trying to claim that 4G will still be a rarity in mid 2014 — three years from NOW?

      I’ll be a bit surprised if LTE is not as prevalent by mid 2014 as 3G is today. Why? Virtually all the major carriers are falling in line behind LTE. Sprint is the only major holdout. Also there are advantages to LTE other than just data rates. Additionally, even AT&T (often the last to complete any transition) has publicly stated their goal is to have a “largely complete” roll out of LTE before the end of 2013. Plus creating WiFi hotspots becomes realistic with LTE (think of people in high rise apartments where and a LTE based hotspot might be very preferable to landline or satellite Internet).

  3. To be fair, Qualcomm is not the only cell networks chipset designer — while others did not release their serious 4G/LTE/universal chipsets, theoretically it is still possible that they will now. But this is not very probable, though.

    And 4G/LTE will not unfold until 2013 year, so it is still in test mode in the nearest future and accessible only on ridiculously limited area of USA.

    In the cities where it unfolded now Wi-Fi is very well developed — it is faster and free. And in almost all places where Wi-Fi is not available, LTE is not either — until year or two later.

    Pretty much useless, and not cheap.

    1. And also remember that apple just picked up some 4g/lte patents.

      The September iPhone could be the last 3G, and the next one has apples own 4G chips in it..
      Win win for apple.

      (crosses fingers for an apple cell carrier) 😉

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.