Apple's experience with the "Long Term Evolution" (LTE) technology has not been so pleasant. Despite that, Apple fans all around the world widely assume that the company's upcoming version of the flagship smartphone, unofficially dubbed the "iPhone 5," will also have LTE functionality. However, there has been some confusion as to whether the handset will work on the LTE outside the United States.
On Friday, an answer to that question came from the Wall Street Journal, which said, citing "people familiar with the matter," that Apple's sixth generation iPhone would work on the fastest 4G LTE networks around the world, including those in the U.S., Europe and Asia. However, the functionality might not be available on every carrier at launch.
"It isn't likely to work with all carriers' LTE networks in all countries, the people said, though it wasn't clear which would be left out," said the WSJ report.
As noted by iDownloadBlog, the LTE networks differ based on carrier and region due to band diversity and hardware limitations. For instance, Verizon's LTE network works on a different frequency band than other carriers outside the U.S. This was the reason why Apple recently had tough times in Australia and other countries when it launched its Wi-Fi+4G version of the new iPad.
The Cupertino tech giant released the new iPad, claiming it to be its first LTE-equipped product. However, the device was apparently compatible with only Verizon and AT&T in the U.S., and Bell Canada and Rogers Communications in Canada.
But now, if the WSJ report holds true, that won't be the case with the new iPhone. There have a lot of rumors also, suggesting that Apple's next iPhone would use Qualcomm's LTE baseband chip built on the 28nm process.
Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung have already implemented the LTE technology in their latest devices, which has turned out to be a unique selling point for them - something that Apple has lacked until now.
According to the WSJ, what makes it difficult to produce LTE phones that work seamlessly around the world is the fact that LTE is much more fragmented compared to the previous 3G wireless technology.
However, that doesn't mean that making phones that support multiple bands of LTE is impossible. In fact, as noted by The Verge, such kinds of chipsets do exist to enable multi-market LTE. For example, the international version of the newly announced Nokia Lumia 920 is claimed to support as many as five bands of LTE in a single model.
But still, "the concept of universal LTE, unfortunately, is a bit far off," the report added.
As per IDC data, only three countries in the world - the U.S., South Korea and Japan - currently have considerable numbers of the LTE customers.
IDC said that by the end of the first quarter, Verizon Wireless, the largest LTE network in the world, had about nine million LTE subscribers. On the other hand, South Korea's SK Telecom and Japan's NTT DoCoMo had 2.75 million and 2.23 million LTE subscribers respectively.
When it comes to Europe, there is LTE network in Scandinavia, Germany and elsewhere. But in many other parts, the service is still in its initial stage. For example, the LTE rollout has just begun in a few cities in France while Paris is still out of luck.
According to IDC, LTE-enabled Android smartphones are currently available in 11 countries, including the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia and Germany, the WSJ reported.
Apple iPhone 5 Price And Features
9TO5Mac came up with a report Friday, saying that Apple would unveil a single next gen iPhone model, which had been codenamed "N42," at the Sept. 12 media event in San Francisco.
The report also said that the redesigned new iPhone would be up for sale at the iPhone 4S price points and device configuration would remain the same - 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.
"Here is the part codes matrix for the new iPhone launch from a source at a well-known U.S. retail chain: N42A-USA -$199, N42B-USA-$199, N42A-USA-$299, N42B-USA-$299, N42A-USA-$399, N42B-USA-$399. A + B signify black and white."
As far as features are concerned, iPhone 5 is expected to come with a larger 4-inch screen with in-cell touch technology, a uni-body design and a smaller 9-pin dock connector. The device is likely to run on iOS 6, which would be completely scalable to a larger 640 x 1136 display.
The device is expected to be powered by a much-improved processor. Other talked-about features include 4G LTE technology, Near Field Communication (NFC), 1GB RAM, 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.
Must Read: Apple iPhone 5 Could Boost US Economy, Lift Up GDP By 0.5%, Says JP Morgan
To contact the editor, e-mail: