Reading the 4G iPhone 5 Tea Leaves: AT&T Launching LTE In NYC This Month
For those who are anticipating the 2012 iPhone 5 to be the first 4G LTE iPhone in Apple’s arsenal, AT&T has added yet another piece of evidence. Today, they have announced that their 4G LTE network will launch in New York City and other key markets. According to the Washington Post, “By the end of the year, AT&T says it will have 70 million people in the U.S. covered by its LTE network.”
Many of the naysayers who disbelieve that 4G LTE capabilities will appear on the iPhone 5 often cite a lack of network infrastructure as proof positive that Apple is still not ready to deploy the next-generation technology in 2012. However, this news from AT&T, coupled with the fact that Verizon’s 4G network “now covers 186 million people in over 175 cities,” and Sprint’s landmark announcement in October that it has invested heavily in a 4G network and will roll it out (along with 4G smartphones) in mid 2012, all combine to paint a picture that 2012 will be the year of 4G going mainstream.
It would be a real miss for Apple to not include it on the iPhone 5.
The rumors and speculation concerning 4G LTE on the 2012 iPhone 5 have swung wildly over the past month or so, with reports such as this one being contrasted with rumors to the contrary, such as the story that broke yesterday of NTT DOCOMO downplaying rumors of a 4G iPhone 5 and iPad 3 in 2012. In our post about it yesterday, we had a different take on it, seeing NTT DOCOMO’s denial as being conspicuous at best.
Our perspective in reading the 4G iPhone 5 “LTE leaves” is that 4G LTE is still much more likely than unlikely for the 2012 iPhone 5. And this will be a welcome development for iPhone users, since, in a recent poll, iPhone 4S users expressed high dissatisfaction over the iPhone 4S not being a 4G LTE smartphone. If external polls are suggesting the desire for 4G on the iPhone 5, then there’ no doubt that Cupertino’s own analysis has revealed the same reality.
iPhone 4S Sales Remain Strong; March iPhone 5 Release Still Unlikely
In other related iPhone news, reports suggest that Apple will sell 30 million iPhone 4S units in the last quarter of 2012, which will beat the Street’s estimate of 28 million units. And both of these numbers are up from the Summertime prediction that the rumored 2011 iPhone 5 would have sold 25 million units in the last quarter of 2011. The continued popularity of the 4S further suggests that any notion that Apple would release the iPhone 5 in March is unlikely, since there would be no reason for Cupertino to kill 4S sales while they currently remain brisk, and will likely continue into 2012.