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Next-Generation iPhone to Have "Faster Internet Speeds"?

Silicon Alley Insider reports on rumors from a mobile industry source saying that the next-generation iPhone will have "a significantly faster Internet connection." While no further information is given as to whether this is referring to cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity, Silicon Alley Insider lays out some possibilities based on what is known about the state of the technology.

- This can't be referring to AT&T's 4G (LTE) network, because that won't be ready for a year or more.
- This might be referring to faster wifi, and not faster 3G access? (802.11n vs. its current 802.11g/b.)
- AT&T has repeatedly vowed to speed up its 3G network via updates to the network. Is it possible that the current iPhone can't support those increased speeds?
- We don't expect Apple to comment, but we've asked.

Electronista provides more detail on AT&T's plans for faster 3G running at 7.2 Mbps, up from the 3.6 Mbps speed of the current network.

However, the most likely change is the addition of support for speed-doubled 7.2Mbps 3G given both hardware manufacturer and carrier plans. Infineon should have a new 3G chipset starting from mid-year that would support the faster speeds while also improving battery life. At the same time, AT&T has been trialing 7.2Mbps 3G since late 2008 and should roll out the speedier service this year. The provider has stressed that many of its cell towers can be upgraded solely through software rather than new equipment.

Current iPhones are limited in hardware to 3.6Mbps 3G and couldn't themselves be upgraded.

Electronista also points to the possibility of a new Broadcom 802.11n chipset being used in the next-generation iPhone to bring increased Wi-Fi speeds.