LTE Chips Too Big for IPhone 5

Apple received criticism for the iPhone 5′s absence, but the company may have believed it lacked the LTE technology finish a market-ready device.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company disappointed some consumers and critics by revealing the iPhone 4S rather than a completely redesigned device, but analysts believe the lack of more compact LTE chips are to blame for Apple’s baby steps. Qualcomm is reportedly working on a chip that will be ready next year and could be used in Apple’s next handset.

Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 4S follows the same pattern the company created after the iPhone 3G. Before releasing a fully redesigned device in the iPhone 4, Apple followed the 3G with the 3GS, a handset with an identical outward design but updated internal specs. However, analysts believe if the proper LTE chips were available, Apple would have skipped over the 4S model and released an iPhone 5.

The size of the LTE chip is a pivotal part of phone design, and current chips used in phones like the HTC Thunderbolt would not fit in the casing of the iPhone 4 after all other components are added. In order for Apple to release an affordable iPhone 5 with LTE this year, the device would likely have had to feature a bulkier design than its predecessor, a step backward Apple was not willing to make.

The company still could have released a redesigned iPhone 5 without LTE, but the body of the iPhone 4 was well reviewed, and the device is still the number-one selling smartphone in the U.S. An iPhone body change may make more sense when Apple gets a smaller LTE chip compatible with a new, sleeker design.

Apple may have disappointed people by not announcing the iPhone 5 yesterday, but it likely did so to maintain its high standards rather than rushing the device just to please critics. Whenever the iPhone 5 does surface, Apple has made it clear it will be on its own terms.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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