Apple Reaches Landmark Agreement With China Mobile, Indicates New iPhone Will Be 4G TD-LTE Capable

With the release of the next iPhone anticipated in around 4 weeks’ time, it is still unclear what exactly to expect in terms of features. A report over at Giz-China appears to confirm that one thing that we can expect is 4G capability.

Although many indications have implied a complete re-vamp with Apple’s latest smartphone offering, this report suggests (the initial ideal) that the iPhone will be upgraded in terms of features, but will look largely the same as the current iPhone 4

Interestingly, the report commentates on an alleged deal between China Mobile and Apple to bring the network’s 4th generation TD-LTE mobile data connection to the upcoming device.

Of course, this is merely speculation, but it would make sense for Apple to bring the next iPhone to China Mobile, which boasts a whopping 600 million subscribers – almost double the entire US population in paying customers. Furthermore, there have been hints from the Cupertino outfit that China is fast becoming the key growth driver for the company as a whole. Revenue has grown from $630 million to $3.8 billion in the last fiscal year, a 600% increase which now accounts for 13.3% of Apple’s total revenue. A deal with China’s largest mobile network would certainly increase that number significantly, and with such a significant potential customer base, Apple could quite easily see another six fold increase in the Q2 earnings call of 2012.

It’s essential to keep an open mind at this stage, and Wayne Lam, senior analyst of market research firm IHS-iSuppli noted last month that Apple was unlikely to implement 1st generation LTE chips for 4G data on its next gen device, due to factors concerning cost. The interesting article, which contrasts the recent claims, considers the financial burden of 4G implementation, using prices of the 4G-enabled HTC Thunderbolt as a guideline.

As you can see, close to $40 in additional costs, and without meaning to digress further, the total cost of the HTC Thunderbolt pound-for-pound, was $262, comparable to that of not only other less-featured smartphones at retail level, but the sort of price companies expect to pay when producing a tablet rather than a phone. For those interested, it is well worth reading the full article, which makes many valid points and gives a realistic analysis of how likely we are to see a 4G capable iPhone next month.

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