China Mobile Exec: Apple wants to release an LTE iPhone

China Mobile's Chairman Wang Jianzhou today announced Apple's interest in bringing an LTE iPhone to the mass market, claiming Steve Jobs has shown a desire to begin development.

According to Bloomberg, China Mobile is set to begin large testing of its LTE network, starting with six cities including Shanghai. An iPhone that supports the new network would be a great way to showcase the new speeds, and Jobs is apparently on board with the idea. "Jobs has expressed his interest in an LTE iPhone and is willing to start the development at an early date," Jianzhou said.

The news that Apple may be embracing the next generation of mobile technology hardly comes as a surprise. Indeed, it would be more surprising to learn that Apple would not be adopting LTE. But what would be interesting to see is if LTE will make Apple's next release of the iPhone, rumoured to be released in the summer.

Apple previously shunned the years-old 3G technology, supposedly in favour of better battery life, with the first iPhone. LTE is known to be a power guzzler, and this could be a stopper for battery-conscious Apple. The average consumer still has a long road ahead before they are going to be demanding LTE in their next phone, but touting blazing-fast wireless speeds on the next iPhone could push LTE into the public consciousness and give Apple a head start.

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13 Comments

ccoltmanm said,
Makes sense. AT&T is coming out with a 4G LTE network this year in places. All lines up.
This year, I switch. I have had the Nexus One for a year, and I am going to dump it for an iPhone, if there is one this year. I need to cut Google aka stalkers out of my life. I am not particularly fond of Google's horrible Android Market either which has absolutely no filter for malware or whatsoever.

thealexweb said,
How would have a LTE-equipped iPhone give Apple a head start? There are quite a few LTE HTCs already I think.

Becuase of the apple brand, if the oh so amazing iPhone has LTE then it MUST be good.

its all image

Auzeras said,

Becuase of the apple brand, if the oh so amazing iPhone has LTE then it MUST be good.

its all image

Apple's smoke and mirrors strategy, I see

thealexweb said,
How would have a LTE-equipped iPhone give Apple a head start? There are quite a few LTE HTCs already I think.
What the article failed to mention was China isn't using "vanilla" LTE, they are using a new version (they developed over the past 3 years) called TD-LTE (Time Division LTE). If Apple came onboard and developed an iPhone compatible with this new tech, they'd be the first. The existing LTE devices already out are compatible and will work on the TD-LTE networks too.

Will they call it a revolutionary iLTE phone?

Seems there's a very limited market for this until maybe the 6th Generation iPhone.

max_ireland said,
Will they call it a revolutionary iLTE phone?

Seems there's a very limited market for this until maybe the 6th Generation iPhone.

You know they will , they'll act like they invented it and boast how they changed the world again...

Limited market? firstly, you do realize how big the Chinese market is don't you? and secondly the US is/has rolling out LTE networks, Australia (my home) is also rolling out LTE this year and I'm sure many other countries will be doing the same. This year is a good time for Apple to embrace LTE I think. That is my 2 cents take with a grain of salt.

Xerxes said,
..... Limited market? firstly, you do realize how big the Chinese market is don't you? ....

I don't have the information but has the system already been established in China? I thought that, like everywhere else, it's still early days in it's adoption.

max_ireland said,

I don't have the information but has the system already been established in China? I thought that, like everywhere else, it's still early days in it's adoption.

I did a little research into the matter (should of done it first...oh well), it seems China has no LTE networks at all. They have developed a new version of LTE called TD-LTE (which is different to the LTE being rolled out elsewhere but uses the same chipset meaning the two standards are interoperable, so you can use your LTE device on a TD-LTE network) and currently have a few trial networks in major cities and there is international interest for the technology as well.

This is probably why Apple are interested in it because they can be the first TD-LTE compatible phone. So in light of that, you were probably right and we probably won't see this till the 6th gen iPhone.

EDIT: The major difference between TD-LTE and LTE that I can gather is TD-LTE is considerably cheaper to roll out.

Edited by Xerxes, Mar 6 2011, 12:33am :

Introducing the all new iPhone 4G LTE which is up to 4x* faster than that of the previous generation iPhone. Download all your iTunes movies and podcasts on the fly with lightning fast 4G.

This changes everything. Again.

From what I understand the LTE networks that are currently out arn't true LTE 4G. All thier speeds are delivered by HSPA+.

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