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Will the Verizon version of iPhone 5 be LTE-capable? No. Apple has never been one to jump into new technologies, particularly when they affect iDevice battery life, and most have assumed that Apple would treat battery draining LTE the same way.
In fact, in the fiscal Q2 earnings call earlier this week, CFO Tim Cook replied to an LTE question during the Q&A session with the following:
I was asked this question or a similar question when we launched the iPhone with Verizon. And what I’ve said then, and I still see it as being the case today, and I think you can see this in the products that have been shipped, is that the first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those, we are just not willing to make.
Battery is probably the main reason behind Apple’s choice to shun LTE for now. [Recall that Apple similar shunned 3G with the first-generation iPhone]
That’s not all: Verizon’s LTE doesn’t support voice over LTE. So CDMA is still used for voice, and of course, CDMA is still used when LTE isn’t available in an area. That increases the complexity and expense of phones, as is seen by the highest prices of Verizon’s Samsung Droid Charge (coming next week) and the HTC Thunderbolt.
LTE would be a Verizon-only asset, as well, since AT&T hasn’t even begun trials of its LTE service. Thus, it would also make more sense for Apple to wait until it could issue an iPhone, perhaps the iPhone 6, with LTE coverage for both its U.S. carriers.
While the iPhone 5 won’t have LTE, it will be a world phone, according to Fran Shammo, Verizon CFO, who discussed the next-generation iPhone during Verizon’s analyst conference call after it issued its own earnings.
There’s no real surprise in that: it was revealed when Verizon’s CDMA iPhone 4 was torn down that the device sported a Qualcomm MDM6600 chipset, which is capable of supporting both CDMA and GSM. The MDM6600 supports HSPA+ data rates up to 14.4 Mbps, and is the same chip used in Verizon’s Android-based Droid Pro world phone.
This means that, at least, Verizon iPhone 5 users should be able to roam worldwide with their devices without an issue. It’s already been said that the iPhone 5 won’t change much externally. Those who don’t want an iPhone 3G to 3GS experience, with internals changed, but externals much thet same, should wait for the iPhone 6.