updated 11:00 am EDT, Fri June 10, 2011
LTE version generally considered unlikely
A United Arab Emirates carrier, Etisalat, is claiming that the iPhone 5 will be shipping later this year, according to Gulf News. "We are in talks with most smartphone manufacturers including Apple on the rollout of the 4G handset, iPhone 5 later this year," says the carrier's chief corporate communications officer, Ali Al Ahmad. "As the first telecom organisation to roll out the 4G network, LTE, in the Middle East, we have already started talking to them for the handsets and chipsets in them."
While the next-generation iPhone is generally expected to ship in September, Apple has not admitted as much and most carriers have been careful to avoid giving a specific date. Al Ahmad's statement also conflicts with multiple reports that an LTE iPhone won't be ready until 2012. He may, however, simply be assuming that the next iPhone will have LTE, even though US iPhone carrier AT&T will at best have a limited LTE network rollout by the end of 2011.
Other problems stand in the way of a 2011 LTE iPhone as well. While another US carrier, Verizon, has been expanding its 4G network since late last year, the LTE chipsets currently in phones can create battery drain that Apple may not want to tolerate. There is also the matter of design, as Apple likely needs a chipset that can combine 3G and 4G in order to save space. The technology may only show in 2012.