The upcoming iPhone 5, or possibly the iPhone 4S, is expected to land sometime in September but is still shrouded in mystery in terms of LTE compatibility. However, BusinessWeek suggests it is very unlikely the next-gen iOS smartphone will offer LTE compatibility, for three reasons.
- The high cost; adding an LTE chipset would increase manufacturing costs, which would then reflect on the smartphone's price tag. Should Apple adopt the same LTE chipset used by HTC for its Thunderbolt, then hardware costs could go up by 23.2%, iSuppli revealed.
- It would mean a bulkier iPhone. The LTE chipset is an additional component which would make the upcoming iPhone bulkier. Of course, Apple would not risk manufacturing bigger gadgets and losing one of the iPhone's main selling points, namely its thinness. The company would rather delay the integration of the LTE chipset until they have found a way to embed it in the iPhone and keep the smartphone's slimline form as well.
- LTE network is underdeveloped. US carriers have only just begun to invest in LTE networks - Verizon currently covers about 75 markets, while AT&T is planning to launch LTE coverage on 5 markets this summer. It would not be lucrative for Apple to invest in such a technology when the infrastructure is very limited.