Apple's next iPhone to sport 4G LTE tech, report says

Apple's next iPhone, which is expected to debut Wednesday, will have 4G LTE technology, according to a report.

Apple's iPhone 4S, a 3G device.
Apple's iPhone 4S, a 3G device. Apple

Apple's next iPhone will sport speedier fourth-generation wireless networking, according to a report.

Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal says Apple's next iPhone will work with some but not all 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and other countries when it's released.

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have 4G LTE networks in the U.S. These networks offer considerably faster data speeds than 3G networks, though use differing frequencies.

4G LTE technology was largely expected to be included in last year's iPhone model, the iPhone 4S. Apple chose instead to go with HSPA+, a slightly speedier 3G technology, but a far cry from what can be had on the 4G LTE spec, which can be ten times as fast.

Apple later brought the technology to its third-generation iPad, which arrived five months after the iPhone 4S. Apple got around the frequency problem by offering carrier-specific models in the U.S. and other countries.

A familiar rumor
This is not the first such report to claim Apple would add the 4G technology -- which has become common among rival smartphones over the past two years -- to the iPhone.

A report from Boy Genius Report ahead of last year's 4S claimed that Apple's carrier partners were testing 4G LTE iPhones based on logs the blog obtained. More recently, a story from the Korea Times noted that Apple was in talks with local carriers to add support for the area's specialty LTE network bands.

There have also been a handful of analysts saying Apple absolutely needed to add 4G LTE to the iPhone or risk not keeping up with competitors. Others, including Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, argue that a significant portion of consumers don't know what the technology is, or say they don't need it .

One of Apple's only mentions about adding the technology to its own phones came during an earnings call with analysts. At the time Apple CEO Tim Cook said the technology "would force design compromises we're not willing to make."

Apple is expected to debut its next iPhone at its press event Wednesday. It kicks off at 10 a.m. PT. CNET will be there to cover it live. Expect more details on that early next week.

 

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