The chairman of China Mobile, the biggest mobile phone carrier in China, hinted at the release of a 4G/LTE version of the iPhone 5 during an interview with Bloomberg.
The news outlet reports that the company's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, told an audience at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meeting that "Jobs has expressed his interest in an LTE iPhone and is willing to start the development at an early date".
4G could come to China as early as next year as the three main telecom companies in the country spend billions upgrading their network to TD-LTE; although it is unlikely that the new iPhone 5 gets 4G from the start, nothing prevents Apple from relaunching the handset with a new chip just as it did with the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 for Verizon.
But, we could well see a TD-CDMA iteration of the iPhone 5 available at launch as Apple seeks to seed the Chinese market prior to a full blown 4G release next year with a hypothetical iPhone 6.
The iPhone 5 is poised to be launched at the beginning of June on the first day of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.
How difficult would it be for Apple to produce a different version of the iPhone 5? Not that much given that it is only a matter of swapping one baseband chip for another and with Qualcomm onboard, there's even the prospect of integrating several baseband technologies on one silicon.