Apple's next iPhone will sport speedier fourth-generation wireless networking, according to a report.
Apple's iPhone 4S, a 3G device.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal said that Apple's next iPhone will work with some, but not all 4G LTE networks in the US and other countries when it's released.
Telstra has been building on its LTE network in Australia since last year, and Optus just launched its network for consumers beyond its Newcastle test-bed. Both networks run on the 1800MHz frequency, whereas US telcos AT&T, Verizon and Sprint use different frequencies, requiring a multi-band chip.
4G LTE technology was largely expected to be included in last year's iPhone model, the iPhone 4S. Apple chose instead to go with HSPA+, a slightly speedier 3G technology, but a far cry from what can be had on the 4G LTE spec, which can be ten times as fast.
Apple later brought the technology to its third-generation iPad in the US, which arrived five months after the iPhone 4S. While it was initially named the "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G", it only supported some US LTE networks and not the LTE frequencies in other countries, leading Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission to insist on a name change, an endeavour which succeeded. As a result, it was renamed globally to "iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular".
A familiar rumour
This is not the first such report to claim Apple would add 4G technology to the iPhone, which has become common among rival smartphones over the past two years.
A report from Boy Genius Report, ahead of last year's 4S release, claimed that Apple's carrier partners were testing 4G LTE iPhones based on logs the blog obtained. More recently, a story from the Korea Times noted that Apple was in talks with local carriers to add support for the area's specialty LTE network bands.
There have also been a handful of analysts that have said that Apple absolutely needed to add 4G LTE to the iPhone or risk not keeping up with competitors. Others, including Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, argue that a significant portion of consumers don't know what the technology is, or say they don't need it.
One of Apple's only mentions about adding the technology to its own phones came during an earnings call with analysts. At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the technology "would force design compromises we're not willing to make".
Apple is expected to debut its next iPhone at its press event on Wednesday, kicking off at 10am Pacific Time (Thursday, 3am AEST). CNET will be there to cover it live.