iPhone 5 to be true 3G/4G world phone, says analyst

The next-generation iPhone will be a "significant upgrade" and a "true world phone" offering both 3G and 4G compatibility, says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The iPhone 5 will not only offer a major refresh but expand its appeal around the world, according to one analyst.

The sixth-generation iPhone is expected to sport three big improvements, says analyst Shaw Wu. Picking up intel from suppliers, Wu sees a new form factor, a slightly larger screen, and 4G LTE support built into Apple's next flagship phone. These features should help the upcoming iPhone outscore the iPhone 4 and 4S at picking up new customers and enticing existing ones to upgrade.

Other reports and various rumors have pointed to a redesigned body, a 4-inch screen, and support for LTE in the next model iPhone.

But given China's status as the world's biggest smartphone market, Apple will also make sure the iPhone 5 will appeal to Chinese consumers, according to Wu.

The phone will work with China Mobile's proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network, says the analyst. Both China Mobile and China Unicom have been testing 4G LTE. But full adoption of LTE is a few years away, so support for 3G is crucial if Apple is to gain further traction in the Chinese market.

iOS 6 has already paved the way for greater support in China by giving Siri the ability to comprehend and speak Mandarin and Cantonese. The new OS will also offer an easier way to input Chinese characters and integrate with several Chinese online services, such as Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku, and Tudou. Combine iOS 6 with the iPhone 5, and Wu sees Apple a few steps closer to a deal to offer the iPhone through China Mobile.