updated 06:20 pm EST, Tue January 12, 2010
Korean tip says 4G iPhone due early
A questionable rumor has surfaced today that claims a dramatically advanced iPhone is due to arrive this year. The tip, purportedly from Korean carrier KT, maintains that a "4G iPhone" will ship in June with an OLED display, a front video camera for chat, and a removable battery. A dual-core processor and better graphics are also part of the Korea Times claims.
Apple is also allegedly poised to conduct a trial run with the phone ahead of a wider release, selling it to "bigger local corporate clients" as a test before the general public gets it in June. An Apple Korea spokesperson is quoted as having talked to multiple Korean carriers to gauge the release timing.
KT is said to have sold 220,000 existing iPhones between its November launch and January 7th but that it should more than double that figure to over 500,000 current and future models by the end of 2010.
Serious doubts exist about the accuracy of the story as it contradicts several typical Apple practices as well as industry patterns. Although many 4G rollouts will take place this year and should include Korea, the country has largely favored WiMAX (often referred to as WiBro) for its current 4G service. The technology so far is only widely available in the US through Clearwire and Sprint, and is unlikely to get support from Apple, which has publicly stated that it wants to avoid separate models for particular markets. Most expect the competing Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard to become the dominant 4G format as most carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, will use it in the next two years.
It has also never shipped the iPhone with a removable battery and has even extended the use of sealed-in batteries to MacBooks. Removable batteries have often been dismissed by Apple as consuming too much added space and reducing the possibility of designing larger, longer-lasting power packs.
Additionally, the California company has never held pre-sales for business in the history of the iPhone. All testing ahead of a public launch has so far been conducted in private by Apple and carrier employees. The handsets have usually shipped in June or July for all customers.
The most plausible of the rumors are the dual-core processor and improved graphics, as the ARM Cortex-A9 and PowerVR SGX545 should be ready by the time Apple ships upgrade iPhones to shelves.