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Apple LTE-enabled iPhone Due in 2012, iPhone 4S Preparations for September 2011

Though not a particular surprise, Digitime’s sources claim that the LTE-enabled “iPhone 4S” is unlikely to launch until 2012.

Apple is likely to delay the launch of its LTE-enabled iPhones to 2012, said the sources, noting that the industry had also long been skeptical about the launch of LTE iPhones in 2011 as the implementation of LTE networks has not yet matured.

LTE is the next generation data transfer technology beyond 3G and is frequently labeled 4G. Both AT&T and Verizon are supporting LTE as their next generation data protocol.

Digitimes’ report confusingly refers to the 2012 iPhone as the “4S” which is the name also given to expected 2011 iPhone. In a separate report Digitimes says that Apple is already lowering iPhone 4 orders in the second quarter of 2011 in anticipation of the new model in September.

Production of iPhone 4S will begin in August and the earliest launch may be in September. All the 3G and CDMA chips for iPhone 4S will be supplied by Qualcomm and the rear camera will be upgraded to a 8-megapixel resolution model with OmniVision Technologies and Taiwan-based Largan Precision to supply image sensors and lens kits respectively, the sources indicated.

Apple is widely expected to launch a new iPhone around September this year, but most have expected that support for 4G networks would likely wait until 2012. Other reports have also said that the proper LTE chips simply won’t be ready for production in 2011.