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Thoughts on an LTE iPhone


A lot of Apple fans are sure that the next iPhone will support the true 4G LTE networks now being deployed by major cellular carriers. Apple has repeatedly said that the iPhone will get LTE when battery life is not an issue, but the Houston Chronicle's Dwight Silverman notes that if the 4G Android devices hitting the market are any indication, that could be a while.

How bad is that battery life? Bad enough that in Engadget's testing of the device, they noted "Using Google Navigation with LTE enabled? The battery drained so fast our in-car charger couldn't keep up, leaving us unsure of which exit to take off the 101." Other LTE devices also seem to have similar issues, so it's not just the Galaxy Nexus to blame.

Sure, the speeds that LTE networks provide are tempting. Silverman's own testing in the Houston, Texas area shows broadband-like download speeds in the range of 30 - 45 Mbps (Megabits per second), while uploads are commonly in the 15-16 Mbps range. But when streaming a Netflix movie draws down the battery by 50 percent in 30 minutes, it's obvious that those speeds come at a price.

Silverman notes that he's "not optimistic" that Apple could get iPhone 4 / 4S-like battery life, even with newer-generation chipsets and an operating system tuned for battery longevity. He also hopes "that any LTE phone Apple offers will come with a setting that turns it off and allows users to drop back to 3G when battery life is more important than raw speed."

What do you think? Would you be willing to trade battery life for raw speed? Leave your comments below.

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