No Apple-Suitable 4G LTE Chips Until Early 2012?

102005 lte logo

With rumors of Apple planning for a later-than-usual iPhone release this year, some have hoped that Apple might use the extra time to build in support for the latest 4G LTE networks beginning to go live with many carriers. On Apple's earnings conference call earlier this week, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook reiterated earlier comments that the current generation of LTE chips forced design compromises that the company has been unwilling to make.

But as noted by Forbes after the call, that situation won't be resolved in time for Apple to bring LTE to the fifth-generation iPhone, pushing the compatibility off until the sixth-generation model in 2012. In particular, the chips Apple needs for an LTE-compatible iPhone simply aren't in production yet.

Those chips won't appear in handsets until next year, says Will Strauss, president of wireless chip tracker Forward Concepts. "They're right that there's nothing out there that fits the bill, and likely nothing will until the fourth quarter of this year," Strauss says when asked about Cook's remarks.

The report notes that Verizon's current 4G handset offering, the HTC Thunderbolt, relies on two chips for connectivity, a Samsung one for 4G and a Qualcomm one for 3G. Hybrid chips offering both 4G and fallback 3G compatibility won't become available until late this year and thus won't make it into handsets until early 2012.

The Cell Phone Junkie reports (via TiPb) that Apple is likely to use Qualcomm's recently-announced MDM9615 wireless chip to provide that hybrid functionality. Qualcomm notes that it will begin shipping samples of the chip in "late 2011".

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Icaras Avatar
168 months ago
Give us a 4.3" screen so the phone would have to be somewhat bigger - big enough to support two chips for 3G and 4G.

Tony

No. Please, no.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArchaicRevival Avatar
168 months ago
That's completely fine with me. LTE speeds aren't really LTE speeds anyway. Even Verizon which does have the fastest LTE falls short of at least 50% of the actual LTE speeds. It's all false advertising anyway :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
168 months ago
Of all the things that iPhone needs soon, LTE is not one of them.

We can all wait until its widespread, and usable.
It's already available to 110 Americans. It will reach over half of the US by year's end thanks to Verizon. When you look at AT&T's 3G penetration at the time of the iPhone 3G launch, it's actually not that far off.

The real issue is having a radio that allows for decent battery life. Even if they can consolidate it into 1 chip, that doesn't mean Apple will be pleased with its battery performance enough to include it in their phones.

My understanding of the MDM9615 is that it's a powerhouse.

The next generation MDM9615 will support LTE (FDD and TDD), DC-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA
Basically, that means it supports LTE, super high speed 3G HSPA+ (think T-mobile's 42 mbps) and EV-DO Rev-B (CDMA). That means it should be a worldphone chip, and it's also fabbed on the brand new 28nm process, which means it will be as low power as one could expect. That makes it an excellent candidate for the 2012 iPhone 6.

The MDM9615 and MDM8215 are designed to pair up with the WTR1605 radio frequency IC and PM8018 power management IC to provide a highly integrated chipset solution. The WTR1605 will be Qualcomm’s first Radio Transceiver in Wafer Level Package and will be a highly integrated radio transceiver with multi-mode (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, GSM) and multi-band support.
TD-SCDMA is the CDMA variant they use in China. Outside of penta-band GSM (which I don't know if this offers, and I don't see why it wouldn't since the current iPhone Gobi chip offers it), this radio can be used on every damn carrier out there in the world essentially.

source (http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2011/02/14/qualcomm-introduces-28nm-mass-market-ltedc-hspa-chipsets-mobile-broadband-0)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andys53 Avatar
168 months ago
Have you used a 4.3" phone. They don't seem that much physically bigger but the screen size is awesome! Apple keeps getting squeezed with adding new technology because of the size limitations of the phone. Giving us a slightly bigger size with the advantage of a bigger screen size AND more components seems like an excellent tradeoff.

Yeah - I know if will never happen because SJ is compulsive obsessive with never making things bigger.

Tony

The current size is more than adequate for me, and I use reading glasses! The screen could possibly be increased I suppose if the black areas were somehow shrunk, but unless your hands are like shovels the phones already big enough.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LbSigman Avatar
168 months ago
Have you used a 4.3" phone. They don't seem that much physically bigger but the screen size is awesome! Apple keeps getting squeezed with adding new technology because of the size limitations of the phone. Giving us a slightly bigger size with the advantage of a bigger screen size AND more components seems like an excellent tradeoff.

Yeah - I know if will never happen because SJ is compulsive obsessive with never making things bigger.

Tony



Uh, no thanks. I don't need a bigger phone print in my pocket.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
daneoni Avatar
168 months ago
Give us a 4.3" screen so the phone would have to be somewhat bigger - big enough to support two chips for 3G and 4G.

Tony
No thanks.

4.0 max whilst retaining current size. It's a phone not a tablet.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
Google maps feaure

Google Maps Finally Rolls Out Glanceable Directions

Wednesday February 28, 2024 2:07 am PST by
After more than a year since announcing the feature, Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions on Android and iOS (via Android Police). The feature allows users to view turn-by-turn directions and a live ETA directly from their device's lock screen – information that was previously only visible when a phone was unlocked. Glanceable directions also work on the app's route...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
M3 MacBook Air Feature

New MacBook Air Models Launching This March: 5 Features to Expect

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:50 am PST by
The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived in June 2023, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in 600 days. But rumors suggest that is unlikely to be the case for much longer. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...