Apple's sixth generation iPhone, the so-called "iPhone 5", is still months away with no official information about the handset's features and other specs. In spite of that, the rumor mill surrounding the device is growing even bigger in an attempt to figure out what the highly anticipated smartphone could possibly be packed with.
Added to the ever-elusive iPhone 5 rumor is a new claim by analyst Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee, who said in a note to investors Thursday that Apple's next generation iPhone is expected to arrive in October, full 12 months after the release of the iPhone 4S last October, with support for China Mobile's proprietary 3G network, making it a "true world phone."
AppleInsider reported that Wu came to know from his sources within Apple's suppliers in Taiwan that the imminent next gen iPhone would include support for China Mobile's proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network as a "key feature".
"Wu noted that trials for high-speed 4G long-term evolution networks are currently underway in China, but widespread adoption of LTE is likely to be 2 to 3 years away. In his eyes, strong 3G support is 'critical' for the next iPhone to find success with China Mobile," AppleInsider added.
According to Wu, with Apple enhancing support for Chinese-language users with iOS 6, the new iPhone would be an attractive platform for customers in China. Thanks to iOS 6, Siri will now understand and speak Mandarin and Cantonese. Besides that, the software update will also include easier Chinese character input and integration with popular Internet services like Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.
Apart from incorporating compatibility with China Mobile, Wu said the next Apple flagship smartphone would also feature a new form factor, a slightly larger screen and a 4G LTE wireless modem.
"We believe these new features will likely help drive a significant upgrade and new user cycle more powerful than what we saw with the iPhone 4 and 4S," Wu wrote in his note.
The analyst also expected the device to be released by October, completing a full year after the launch of the iPhone 4S. As per his estimates, Apple will sell 27 million iPhones in the June quarter, and 25 million in the September quarter, prior to the launch of the iPhone 5.
China Mobile And Apple iPhone Partnership
Last month, Reuters reported that China Mobile, the world's biggest telecom carrier by subscribers, was negotiating with Apple to carry the iPhone in China.
China Mobile is the only Chinese operator that does not officially carry the iPhone since its homegrown 3G technology is not supported by the chips used in current iPhone models. However, according to many industry analysts, the upcoming iPhone model would feature a Qualcomm chip that would support China Mobile's network, removing the key technology barrier for a deal, Reuters reported.
"We've been actively talking to Apple on how we can cooperate," China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua told shareholders in a meeting in May. "I can't give you too many details, but I'd like to repeat that both sides do hope to boost our cooperation," Xi added after the meeting.
The company announced that it was expanding tests of its latest generation TD-LTE mobile network, which referred to "time division long-term evolution" technology that allows for more voice connections, faster data speeds and easier network upgrades.
China Mobile's subscribers reportedly rose to 667.20 million in March, more than twice the population of the U.S., including 59.56 million 3G subscribers.
When it comes to the most likely features of the next Apple iPhone, rumors are rife that the device will incorporate a 4-inch Retina display, an A5X Variant chip, 1GB RAM, iOS 6, 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, improved Siri, liquidmetal casing, an 8 megapixel (or even higher) rear camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and a much-improved battery life.
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