Since we started talking about the sixth-gen iPhone – and especially since the iPad launched – we’ve expected the next of Apple’s smartphones to launch with support for LTE. Now, it would seem our speculations have been confirmed: a couple of Korean carriers, SK Telecom and KT, have told Korea Times that they’re currently in-talks with Apple regarding an upcoming LTE-compatible iPhone handset.
According to the publication:
SK Telecom and KT are in talks to offer long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity on Apple’s next handset, tentatively named the iPhone 5, officials from the companies said Wednesday. [...]
The new iPhone should feature fourth-generation (4G) LTE support, which will put more of a strain on the battery than the current iPhone 4S’s third-generation (3G) capabilities. It’s widely expected that the new smartphone’s arrival will be announced on Sept. 12 and launched on Sept. 21.
In Korea, the new iPad – which is LTE-compatible in America – does not support the country’s LTE frequencies. Getting a mobile device to hook up to 4G networks around the world isn’t as simple as it is – or was – with 3G, since international LTE networks all work on their own frequencies. If the carriers’ comments are indeed true, it looks like Apple could be making an effort to get more countries on-board for the launch of an LTE-compatible iPhone handset. As CNET reports:
In the U.S., Verizon uses a 700-megahertz frequency, while AT&T uses both 700MHz and 2.1GHz. SK and KT both use different frequencies. So the burden rests on Apple to manufacture separate iPhones with different LTE modems to support the various frequencies. That’s why Apple doesn’t offer Korean consumers LTE as an option on its newest iPad.
As the Korea Times notes, folks are expecting the sixth-gen iPhone to become available in September. Unfortunately, we’re most likely not going to know whether the iPhone is indeed LTE-compatible up until Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the handset on stage, at a dedicated event in the coming weeks.
We’ll keep you updated.