China Mobile asks Apple for LTE iPhone...
...and Apple seems willing
Apple seems set to produce an LTE - Long Term Evolution - 4G iPhone, for network operator China Mobile if for no one else.
China Mobile's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, was yesterday quoted as saying the Apple "has made it clear they will support TD-LTE", Reuters reports.
By TD-LTE, he means the 4G successor to TD-SCDMA - Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access - China's answer to W-CDMA, the technology that underpins 3G networks.
TD-LTE is likely to remain a China-only option, but Wang indicated that if Apple is happy to broaden its technology support beyond HSPA 3G to the CDMA EvDO technology used by America's Verizon, it will surely be equally keen to adopt China's version of LTE as much as the Western form of 4G.
Verizon supports LTE, and many observers were surprised the Verizon iPhone 4 was not an LTE device.
Wang said China Mobile and Apple have been discussing this for "two years" or so, and that now "the situation is moving forward". ®
One more tech, one less who cares
Architecturally, Apple can support anything even wiMax and carrier pigeons as it uses a separate baseband.
However, as far as LTE is concerned it simply does not have the software to support it just yet. The framework is there. OSX/iOS should have no problem with IPv6 and mobile IP. However, in oder to have a fully compliant LTE phone it must have IMS and that goes against its economic model and service vision. Strategically, delaying until the operators have given up on the idea completely and use other means of per-app/per-service charging makes much more sense for Apple.
In any case, as far as the "easyness" to have an iPhone for different networks:
I remember quite fondly working one the same premises with one of the now defunct UK cellular IPR companies back in 2001. During one of the lunch breaks I tried to argue that the decreasing cost of baseband chipsets and CPU/SOCs makes put-all-on-one-chip style design pointless. Extrapolating the cost curves even in those days was showing that it would become cheaper to have a two-chip solution (or nowdays two-core) where one runs a baseband and the other runs a generic non-realtime OS with the lower cost of developing _APPLICATIONS_ for the non-RT OS taking the financial slack.
I got flamed into a crisp that I do not understand the special sauce that makes phones and networks tick and how it all is better if it is done on one CPU and a realtime OS.
Fast Forward 10 years...
Why VZW has no LTE iOS
simple... LTE chipsets natively support GSM towers and communication. There's no such thing as a dual-radio GSM/LTE device, it;s simple an LTE device. However, adding LTE to a CDMA network DOES require the device to have 2 completely independent systems, merged by a bridge chip. This is highly complicated not just in design, but also software architecture, and easily requires more power than LTE alone (which is not, yet, as power efficient as GSM or CDMA, even though it should in theory use less power in the long run). These costs mean more expensive (and likely bulkier as well) devices compared to LTE-only brethren.
Tim Cook said it: LTE on VZW would require "a radical redesign of the iPhone platform." LTE on AT&T or other GSM native carrier is not an issue.
As for China, TD-LTE is not LTE. Its very similar, and in fact the same chip could use both technologies easily, but its a step down from LTE, lacks full duplex, uses a cheaper swath of airspace, and because they won;t be turning it on for quite some time (and are pushing carriers to roll it out fast), it will probably support Voice as well as data when rolled out, eliminating needs for back compatibility with China's CDMA network. TD-LTE is unlikely to be deployed outside of China, and VZW certainly is not investing in it, so TD-LTE iPhones would do VZW no good, at least for the next few years until there's a VoLTE standard in place.
CIA asks Apple for...
TD-LTE will be global and not just China centric like TD-SCDMA.....