Although Apple touted its new smartphone yesterday as “capable” of 4G-like speeds, the iPhone 4S isn’t getting the “4G” label. The handset still essentially uses 3G technology, debunking the last-minute rumors that the device would be LTE-capable.

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, and it’s a common choice for carriers looking to go 4G. The technology has been really popular in Android devices over the last several months, so why didn’t we see it in the new iPhone?

Just as Apple did with 3G the first time around, it passed up 4G tech this year for multiple reasons. For starters, LTE isn’t very common outside of the United States. And even in the US it barely covers half of the country.

On top of its lack of coverage, the hardware technology isn’t where Apple needs it to be. The company needs the 4G chip to be low-power and extremely small. And as AnandTech points out, such a chip may not be available until late next year.

As you can see from the above graphic, the MDM9615 looks like the modem Apple needs. It can handle both LTE data and voice, which would alleviate the need for separate components. And in a thin device, the less parts, the better.

Due to manufacturing problems, the MDM9615 won’t be available until Q2 of next year. This means we aren’t likely to see an LTE handset from Apple until late next year, and by that time, the technology will be much more widespread.


  • Matt

    Honestly, having T-Mobile 3G on my ip4 would blow my mind enough.

    • jgr627

      Lol I feel ur pain but doesn’t look like that will happen for u t-mobile guys until this time next year n that’s even if t-mobile even gets the phone

    • Keith

      If you jailbreak a iPhone 4 there’s like a program you could use and basically you call tmobile and upgrade your plan to a smartphone plan and you’ll get your tmobile 3G on it

      • fdxgncgfn

        no you can’t, The iPhone’s antennae does not support Tmobile frequencies

      • yes you can,.. I jailbroke my iPhone and I use it just fine on T-mobile for a year now.. no problems at all, and going from AT&T to T-mobile , the iPhone performed much better, better recieption, call recieption, and faster DL speed.

  • Watchguy

    This rationalization for an Apple “less than dazzling” 4S phone debut makes me want to buy two of these, one for each year. Honestly, as a long time iPhone lover I am underwhelmed by the 4S and very disappointed at Apple’s inability to step up to, much less move back ahead of the competition that is passing Apple in the fast lane.

    • jgr627

      If ur long time iPhone lover then u would love the hardware that’s on the inside of the 4S, yea it’s another year with the same desgin but big deal, there’s no other phone out there that has the same hardware and polish of an iPhone or any apple product period

      • Keith

        True but you know people are still kids you say something is good they’ll find a way to say it’s not like android users

    • Stormchild

      That’s your own fault for having unrealistic expectations. Apple obviously knows what it’s doing. If you think you can make a better phone, by all means, show us what you got.

  • Chris Williams

    As I been saying, Next Year; doesn’t ANYONE EVER pay attention to the Apple Line? LMAO.

    • QuarterSwede

      Obviously not or they would’ve known that the Apple executive team said they wouldn’t be adding LTE this year because of the reasons cited in the article. I believe this was at WWDC in June.