Could AT&T's LTE network be ready by September?
Whether you're Sprint or Verizon, you have to agree that LTE is the future of 4G wireless connections. WiMAX is flailing and failing and HSPA+ isn't much more than a desperate stop-gap. As the fastest, slickest and shiniest mobile technology out there, LTE hasn't failed to catch Apple's eye. Steve Jobs is quite taken by the potential of true 4G. It's only a matter of time before we see an LTE iPhone.
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The question is...will that device be the iPhone 5, or the iPhone 6?
Apple can afford to wait one more product cycle before jumping on the 4G bandwagon. And there's good reason to suspect that they will. LTE is still very young, and only Verizon has an established network. There is no such thing as nationwide LTE coverage, and Apple is is extremely wary of launching a device with a major feature that many of their customers are unable to use. Plus, LTE is a huge battery drain.
So the iPhone 6 may be slightly more likely to be the first 4G iPhone. But we can't discount the iPhone 5 entirely. As I speculated earlier, the iPhone 5's delay may be due in part to the difficulties of getting LTE working properly. High-speed mobile Internet would also help Apple to push their new streaming iTunes service.
And AT&T announced in today's earnings call that they plan to have LTE markets up and ready by mid-to-late 2011. Which, coincidentally, is when the iPhone 5 is expected to hit stores. Could AT&T be rushing their service to completion to avoid Verizon creating a "4G iPhone gap"?