A Reuters report out of China mentiond that Apple had been speaking with the local carriers about connecting their local brand of LTE with the iPhone.
China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, said on Friday that Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs has expressed interest in developing an iPhone based on the Chinese carrier’s network standard.
China Mobile is developing its next-generation TD-LTE mobile network technology and there have been talks over a possible iPhone tie-up with the carrier.[That’s about as vague a timeframe as you can get.]
There are some compatibilities and similarities between TD-LTE and the LTE that Verizon and AT&T are rolling out in the US. But does that mean Apple is going to build an iPhone 5 with any type of 4G LTE? I think it is unlikely. We do know, however, that Apple has been active in the hiring of LTE engineers over the past few months.
Apple lists a slew of jobs with LTE as part of the description (below). But does it make sense for Apple to jump on this technology now? Remember, Apple builds just a few different device configurations. Most of the world won’t be on LTE for another year. Even Verizon won’t have much of the US covered by the Summer and AT&T will just be switching people on.
|Job title||Req. number||Location||Date Posted|
|Carrier EPM, Americas iOS Software||6850047||Santa Clara Valley||03-Mar-2011|
|iOS Cellular Protocol SW Engineer-SH/BJ||6593157||Shanghai (China APO Only)||30-Jan-2011|
|iOS Cellular Protocol SW Engineering Mgr||6593252||Shanghai (China APO Only)||30-Jan-2011|
|iOS Modem DSP Firmware Engineer-BJ/SH||6593187||Beijing (China APO Only)||30-Jan-2011|
|Carrier EPM Mgr (EMEIA), iOS Software||6497489||Santa Clara Valley||19-Jan-2011|
|Carrier EPM Mgr (APAC), iOS Software||6495536||Santa Clara Valley||19-Jan-2011|
|Carrier EPM, APAC||6485177||Santa Clara Valley||19-Jan-2011|
|Carrier EPM, EMEIA||6485246||Santa Clara Valley||19-Jan-2011|
|iOS IOT Dev and Performance Eng||6442543||Santa Clara Valley||12-Jan-2011|
|Carrier EPM, Americas iOS Software||5886682||Santa Clara Valley||02-Dec-2010|
|Log Analysis Engineer||4792913||Santa Clara Valley||09-Jan-2010|
|Cellular Systems Architect||4763890||Santa Clara Valley||24-Nov-2009|
|Cellular Systems Perf Eng – Lab Test||4642719||Santa Clara Valley||05-Oct-2009|
|Inter-Operability Dev and Perf Eng||4318719||Santa Clara Valley||29-May-2009|
|Iphone Cellular Systems Engineer||4300664||Santa Clara Valley||19-May-2009|
Also, remember Apple was slow to jump on 3G, instead choosing to keep the original iPhone on EDGE. It turned out to be a masterful decision which allowed to iPhone to last much longer on battery and a better experience until Apple could get the chip size and energy consumption to acceptable levels.