AT&T will begin to roll out their nationwide 4G LTE network starting in New York City on June 30th. But will they penetrate enough markets for Apple to release a 4G-capable iPhone 5 in September?
It doesn’t look like it. While Verizon’s LTE network has already managed to roll out to many national markets, AT&T appears to be unveiling their LTE network carefully, starting in New York on the 30th of June and only expanding to Los Angeles on July 24th.
That’s way too slow a pace to make it likely that the iPhone 5 will be LTE equipped. Apple will want to make sure that the 4G experience is good on both of its major networks before it embraces the technology.
Even so, it’s looking good that AT&T might roll out enough LTE spectrum by 2012 to allow Apple to finally make the jump to 4G in its IOS devices. It’s even possible that Apple will start with the iPad 3, which has a larger battery and can therefore cope better with 4G’s more aggressive power slurping.
The iPad 3 will probably ship sometime in March or April of 2012. If it ships with LTE, it would make it at least the second true 4G tablet to run on AT&T’s network, But then again, Apple’s always been cautious when adopting new mobile broadband technology, saving 3G for the second-gen iPhone, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.