The Next iPhone Will Have 4G… But Only On AT&T [Rumor]

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Photo by Ben Northern - http://flic.kr/p/kkKHG
Photo by Ben Northern - http://flic.kr/p/kkKHG

In the bizzaro land of both tech marketing and Wall Street analysis, reality can sometimes become twisted. For example, despite the long struggle to get Verizon onboard, one observer suggests Apple could leave them behind in the dust with the next iPhone by launching with 4G support on AT&T’s network only.

Hudson Square Research analyst Todd Rethemeier believes AT&T will have a “marketing advantage” over Verizon, prompting him to cut the carrier from Hold to Sell, moving the original iPhone provider to Buy. Essentially, Rethemeier tells investors AT&T’s 4G network is superior and farther developed than Verizon’s LTE. This leaves us shaking our heads in disbelief.

As we reported last month, AT&T’s throttled “4G” service (actually HSPA+, which is an advance in existing 3G technology, and significantly slower than LTE) would make a new Apple handset actually slower than an iPhone 4. AT&T recently announced it plans 10 LTE U.S. markets by the end of the year.

Although AT&T would lose some of that “marketing advantage” when an LTE network is present, the analyst contends an AT&T iPhone 6 could be backward compatible to HSPA+ when a faster connection is unavailable.

The analyst note hinges on a future that is “more likely than not.” However, we seem to put more weight on the “not” side of the equation.

What do you think? We’re skeptical that Apple would release a new iPhone that was gimped on one carrier and not the other, but maybe not all carriers are created equal in Apple’s eyes. Could the next iPhone support HSPA+ on AT&T but not Verizon? Let us know what you think.