China Unicom Suggests Next iPhone Will Support HDSPA+ “4G” Technology

With Apple’s iPhone event just 5 days away, everyone is trying to get in their last minute predictions. While it seems like pundits agree on most of the device’s features, there is one detail that still remains a mystery — data connectivity.

Even though evidence surfaced last month that Apple was testing LTE-capable devices, it doesn’t seem likely that the upcoming smartphone will house the technology. But that doesn’t mean that the next iPhone won’t be “4G…”

MacRumors points to a report by Macotakara that claims that Apple’s next handset will support HDSPA+ technology. Both AT&T and T-Mobile have been calling their HDSPA+ networks 4G in their marketing campaigns, so Apple could theoretically do the same.

The site even posted a leaked slide from a presentation given by Huan Wenliang, research vice president of China Unicom, that appears to confirm the report. As you can see in the purported slide above, the phone would be cable of up to 21Mbps download speeds.

This move would make sense for Apple, who may be hesitant to release an LTE-capable phone at this time due to its lack of coverage. Verizon’s LTE network only covers about half of the US, and several countries don’t even have a live LTE network yet.

While an HDSPA+ iPhone would be a huge win for AT&T customers, Verizon subscribers would be outraged. Since the carrier runs on a CDMA network, they would get zero benefit from an HDSPA handset. So what will Apple do? We’ll find out next Tuesday.