Verizon Wireless might introduce a next-generation Apple iPhone with the 4G wireless-networking standard Long Term Evolution (LTE) this summer, ending AT&T’s lock on this very popular smartphone. There are reasons to doubt this unsubstantiated report, however.
AT&T has had an agreement with Apple to be the sole U.S. provider for the iPhone since its inception, but persistent but unconfirmed rumors have indicated that this is coming to an end.
An iPhone with 4G?
Recently, there are reports that Verizon is working with a number of large companies to try out a version of the iPhone with support for its nascent LTE network. Such a device would offer data transfers significantly faster than is possible with AT&T’s version.
The sources say this model will be on the market this summer, but this contradicts a statement made by Verizon this spring in which the carrier said it won’t introduce a smartphone with LTE until the middle of 2011. The carrier is still building its 4G network, and doesn’t expect to start offering service on it until late this year.
An Early Look at the iPhone HD
Although the formal unveiling of Apple’s next smartphone isn’t expected for months, unconfirmed reports offer many details about the model.
The iPhone HD will supposedly sport a 960 x 640 pixel touchscreen. All previous versions have a 3.5-inch, HVGA (320 x 480 pixel) screen.
It’s expected to be the debut of iPhone OS 4.0, the first version of Apple’s operating system that will allow third-party applications to run in the background. In addition, it’s considered likely that it will run this OS on an Apple A4 chip, also used in the new iPad.
In addition to a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, there is strong evidence that the next iPhone will support iChat video conferencing using a front-facing camera.
Apple has scheduled an event on June 22 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where all previous iPhones were unveiled, making this a likely date for the announcement of the fourth-generation version.
More about LTE
Verizon is building a network using LTE, which will offer data transfer speeds much higher than current 3G networks.
In ideal conditions, LTE will offer 40-50 Mbps for downloads and 20-25 Mbps for uploads. According to trials held in Verizon’s test markets of Boston and Seattle, this 4G network will offer average download speeds of 5-12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps in real world environments.
The carrier plans to offer LTE service in 25 to 30 U.S. markets covering roughly 100 million people by year’s end.
LTE is a data-only service, so Verizon’s first-generation LTE models are expected to also offer support for its voice-only network that uses the CDMA standard. These models will also include the 3G standard EV-DO.