3 reasons why iPhone 5 won't have 4G.
It was bound to happen sooner or later -- Once announcements from Verizon and AT&T were made concerning 4G roll-outs, people would immediately add "4G" to the list of iPhone 5 features. But from the way Apple has acted in the past, we can see this won't be the case. Don't expect 4G until iPhone 6. Here's why:
- If on AT&T: AT&T won't be turning on the 4G airwaves for consumers until mid-to-late 2011. As history has proved, Apple releases new iPhone's every June/July. AT&T simply won't have enough 4G coverage to make it worthwhile yet.
- If on Verizon: Verizon's 4G roll-out is a bit more ambitions and ahead of the curve, with a projected release of late 2010. However, data cards will be the only device able to make use of the new wireless waves though the rest of 2010 and the first half of 2011. The first 4G phones on VZW aren't slated to start shipping until 2H of 2011.
- Apple doesn't jump on the "shiny new toy" bandwaggon like most other compaines. Remember back to the original iPhone and how people complained it lacked 3G -- a feature that even back then was becoming pretty common? Apple cited battery life concerns and poor 3G coverage as reasons for the ommision. Fast forward to 4G and you'll see it's the same story/different actors. 4G consumes huge amounts of battery life. Just ask Evo 4G owners on Sprint. Furthermore, VZW won't have a a large 4G network in place until later in 2011 (likely after the iPhone 5 launches) and AT&T won't be ready to ship smartphones with 4G until well into the end of 2011/early 2012.
We could hypothesize that Sprint or T-Mobile will get an official iPhone by then, but adding 4G solely for either of these carriers doesn't make sense. Sprint uses WiMax as their 4G technology of choice. AT&T and VZW -- Two of the countries largest carriers -- have already signed up to support LTE. WiMax is a small market = no real possibility for large profits for Apple and involved parties.
T-Mobile on the other hand is still getting their 3G network up to snuff and has positioned itself to wring HSPA+ for every last 1 and 0 it can muster before moving on to 4G technology.
With all of that said, it just doesn't make financial sense for Apple to slap 4G into iPhone 5, nor does it follow their previous history of iPhone releases. Of course, we won't know the real answer until late next spring when iPhone rumors start getting more accurate. (Unless of course, another iPhone engineer/developer leaves their iPhone in a bar... /cheap shot)