Most predictions put Apple's next iPhone in the Q4 timetable of this year, and while most are also anticipating that upgrade to include 4G speeds, one analyst is contending otherwise.
The new iPhone isn't likely to include LTE (4G) functionality said Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. Instead, it will be an upgraded iPhone 4, most notably with a faster processor and some updated specs.
According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support, he writes in a research note.
The A5 processor is the same chip that Apple rolled out to power its iPad 2. As for LTE, he says the Qualcomm LTE chipset Apple would have used is currently not achieving yields sufficient for inclusion in the iPhone 5.
He says Apple had hoped to have the LTE chipsets ready, but was planning a version without LTE called iPhone 4S.
If true, the roll-out would match Apple precedent.
In 2008, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G and in 2009 introduced the iPhone 3GS -- the S standing for speed. For the most part, the 3GS was the same as the 3G, except it had a faster processor.
The move is sure to upset fans waiting for faster network connections and may complicate Apple's rumored iCloud service.
Regardless of when it does come out, it is almost sure to be a success, according to some industry watchers.
Caris & Co's Robert Cihra told clients last month that to focus solely on the the hardware and the launch date would be missing the point as Apple is no longer a hit product company, driven by timing.
It's not the hardware that matters, Cihra wrote, ...actually, it's the software+hardware+services in a fully-integrated vertical platform. As we've said repeatedly, iOS IS the 'what's next?' for Apple.
With cloud-based functionality integrated into the next iOS, promising newer services like digital lockers and access to unbridled computing power, the prospects for the next iPhone look bright, even if the timing is uncertain.