LTE Unlikely to Arrive in iPhone Until at Least Q3 2012

In what should have come as no surprise to most observers, Apple yesterday introduced its new iPhone 4S without LTE 4G capabilities. The company had previously acknowledged that the first generation of LTE chips had required handset design compromises that Apple was unwilling to make, and analysts had noted that Apple-suitable LTE chips weren't likely until early 2012.

AnandTech takes a closer look at the status of LTE chip development, describing how a slower-than-expected transition to new 28-nanometer chip processes has left a number of companies unable to release the devices they had originally hoped to launch in 2011.

As you may have heard however, the move to 28nm at both TSMC and Global Foundries isn't really going all that smoothly. The jump from 4x-nm to 28nm is a very big one, so it's not unexpected to have pretty serious teething problems as the process ramps up. I suspect that an aggressive 28nm roadmap that didn't pan out probably caught a lot of SoC and smartphone vendors in a position where they couldn't ship what they wanted to in 2011.

As in earlier reports regarding Apple's likely LTE chip plans, AnandTech points to Qualcomm's MDM9615 modem as the chip to watch for. The MDM9615 will be the first chip to offer both LTE and voice services in a single chip.

qualcomm lte roadmap
But with the MDM9615 not scheduled to begin shipping in quantity until the second quarter of next year, AnandTech suggests that an LTE-enabled iPhone wouldn't appear until the third quarter of 2012.

Qualcomm's current roadmaps show the 28nm MDM9615 arriving in Q2 2012. The 9615 finds itself in a smaller 10x10mm package and is voice enabled as well. Apple (and all other smartphone makers) could replace the MDM6600 with the MDM9615 and have a "single chip" LTE solution for smartphones.

Apple's next-generation A6 system-on-a-chip is also said to be on track for a second quarter debut, and while such a schedule raises questions about Apple's plans for the iPad 3, it would line up nicely to allow Apple to launch a new iPhone based on the A6 and LTE about a year from now.

Top Rated Comments

WhoDaKat Avatar
121 months ago
So sick of the haters!

File this under obvious. For those of us with half a brain and the ability not to be distracted by shiny objects, it was fairly obvious what Apple was releasing yesterday. These ridiculous expectations people are living with are absurd.

Yeah, they are going to completely redesign the best selling handset in the world after one generation. That is so howl at the moon stupid, I just don't get where people actually believed it. How do you people put pants on in the morning without help?

The iPhone 4 design is legen... wait for it... dary! A glass and stainless steel sandwich? Come one! I'd rather see Macs starting to copy that then the iPhone going unibody (snore). I hate design changes just for the sake of design changes, especially when the design is the iPhone 4!

And for the love of god, if you want a giant screen, buy a freaking iPad. I'd like to keep my phone in my pocket without a giant bulge (ok without another one lol yeah right!)

Am I the only one out there that doesn't want to change the form factor? Am I the only one that doesn't care about a giant screen on my phone?

Bottom line, haters gotta hate!
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
troop231 Avatar
121 months ago
Yep, so the next iPhone will launch around the same time next year with the new LTE chip perhaps, October 2012. iPad 3 with A6 will come out early 2012, with scattered Mac upgrades throughout the year. IMO, this seems like the way Apple is going for product refresh cycles now.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Refurbished_ Avatar
121 months ago
I believe Siri / iCloud are the two reasons the phone got delayed. The hardware was the easy part this year, but the software needed time to mature. Siri is still in BETA as we speak.

On top of that, pushing the phone back this year makes sense for future releases. It's a win, win for Apple, but a loss for everyone still running around with a 3GS :).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DMVillain Avatar
121 months ago

What do you mean? iOS 6, A6, iPhone 6th generation... the 4S IS the 5!

Then hopefully they call the next one the 4G or just the 2012 iPhone because this name game is just getting stupid.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TallGuy1970 Avatar
121 months ago
This is exactly why I won't be upgrading my 4 to a 4S. I am not eligible for an upgrade until March 1, and I don't want to be stuck in a two-year contract on that date when LTE and possibly a whole new redesign will be coming 6-7 months after that.

I can live without Siri and a better camera for a few months if it means I can get LTE and possibly more goodies come October 2012. :D
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPOM Avatar
121 months ago
Leave it to Anand to breathe some common sense into tech reporting. Too bad he doesn't comment more before the rumor mill goes crazy.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...