It looks like September 12, 2012, is the date Apple will be finally revealing its next generation iPhone to the world. According to multiple sources, Apple will announce and start taking preorders for the iPhone 5 on September 12. While there are no confirmed details at this point, it’s a safe bet from the plethora of leaks and rumors that the next generation iPhone will be a complete redesign and not a slight upgrade like the iPhone 4S.
There have been enough leaks and rumors that it appears the next iPhone will have a unibody design with a larger screen. Apple is also rumored to launch the first LTE-enabled iPhone, which leads to the real question: is AT&T’s dominance with the iPhone over with the iPhone 5?
AT&T is reported to be “all hands on deck” from September through October for the iPhone 5 launch. But with AT&T’s lack of a widespread 4G LTE network, customers in most markets only have Verizon Wireless and their huge 4G LTE footprint if they are looking for a true 4G LTE experience. Then there is the fact that AT&T has already blocked FaceTime over their wireless network from iOS 6 Beta users – and presumably to all customers at launch – in an attempt to squeeze more money from customers. Furthermore, Verizon’s Share Everything plan is straightforward and uncompromising in terms of features, unlike AT&T’s soon-to-be-launched offering that has confusing pricing tiers and options.
With the cards stacked against AT&T – poor existing 3G network (3G HSPA+ isn’t real 4G folks), near non-existent 4G LTE network, and again the removal of features – is there really any reason for iPhone 5 buyers to stay, or switch to, AT&T? Have the tables turned on the once dominant iPhone carrier? In my opinion, yes and no. There is no reason iPhone users will feel the need to – or want to – stick with AT&T if indeed the iPhone 5 is released as speculated with LTE.
If you recall, AT&T still head an advantage when it came to network speeds even with the iPhone 4S, since the iPhone 4S supported up to 14.4 Mbps HSPA+ on the AT&T GSM network only, since Verizon’s older CDMA 3G network did not support the HSPA+ band. But with LTE here, and already showing its muscle on a variety of Android devices, loyal iPhone users are chomping at the bit to finally get their hands on this technology. With AT&T already struggling with call quality and reliability on their existing network, and that Verizon expects to have its 4G LTE network built out very soon, with further enhancements coming after they close the spectrum deal with the cable companies, AT&T doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
AT&T iPhone users, are you planning to stick with AT&T even with the launch o.f a LTE-enabled iPhone 5? Why or why not? I’ve already made it clear I’ll be jumping ship from Big Blue to Big Red on September 12.