I’m sorry Verizon CEO, but you didn’t talk Steve Jobs into bringing LTE to the iPhone

iPhone 5 LTE

Apple has long been criticized for not making an LTE iPhone at a time when most Android handsets boasted high-speed cellular networking capability. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has come out of the woodwork to take credit for personally persuading Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs to add LTE connectivity to the popular smartphone.

He also shared interesting stats regarding the technology, saying that half of all wireless traffic on Verizon’s network is now related to video content. McAdam remarks he’s expecting that video will comprise two-thirds of all wireless traffic on the Verizon network by 2017, thanks to the company’s capital expenditure in deploying LTE technology. As for his comment regarding an LTE iPhone, I’m not buying it and here’s why…

McAdam made the comment at the NAB show in Las Vegas, Fierce Wireless reports:

I was really trying to sell him and he sat there without any reaction. Finally, he said, ‘Enough. You had me at 10 Mbps. I know you can stream video at 10 Mbps.’ And Apple’s next phone was LTE.

He did not say when the conversation took place, though it’s worth mentioning he was appointed the Verizon CEO in August 2011. Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011.

I’m not buying McAdam’s comment regarding an LTE iPhone.

For starters, Steve himself publicly said numerous times that LTE will eventually come to the iPhone. Specifically, Jobs dissed early LTE chips as battery hogs and noted Apple wanted to do LTE in a way that wouldn’t hurt the user experience.

Current CEO Tim Cook would repeat Steve’s argument, saying in April 2011 that Apple was unwilling to make design compromises because LTE chipsets had not evolved enough at the time. He specifically said the chips consumed too much power and were large, which would have required Apple’s engineers to use multiple chips.

iPhone 5 promo (LTE chip 001)

Therefore, it wasn’t like Apple or Steve Jobs needed convincing to add LTE to the iPhone: Apple was just waiting for the chipset tech to catch up with its design requirements. In my view, McAdam’s overreaching comment made at an industry conference is a marketing stunt to make his company look good and get some free press.

With the introduction of the iPhone 5 last September, Apple has delivered LTE capabilities via the latest chipset that doesn’t tax the battery life much. In fact, according to Apple’s web site, the handset delivers up to eight hours of Internet time on both 3G and LTE.

“iPhone 5 does LTE the right way – optimized for better battery life and designed for ultrafast connectivity in a thin profile,” Apple writes.


In a video above, Apple’s Technologies chief Bob Mansfield explains that the iPhone 5 combines both cellular voice and data technology onto a single chip, as opposed to conventional designs calling for two separate chips.

“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to bring LTE to the iPhone,” he says.

According to Consumer Reports and Rootmetrics data, Verizon leads the charge in terms of LTE coverage in the United States. According to the latter survey, the maximum Verizon LTE speeds reach 49.3Mbps downlink and 19.7Mbps uplink, with average speeds clocking in at 14.3Mbps downlink and 8.5Mbps uplink.