iPhone 4S Arriving This Fall With More Carriers?

Apple-Next-iPhone

Apple’s next iPhone will be called the 4S, and won’t offer much beyond minor cosmetic changes, better front and back cameras, an A5 dual-core processor and HSPA+ support, according to Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek (via Forbes ). The information comes from industry checks performed by the investment banking firm.

Apple is also likely to announce Sprint, T-Mobile and China Mobile as new carrier partners, according to Misek’s research note. T-Mobile expansion is already expected if the AT&T / T-Mobile merger goes through. The addition of Sprint would mean Apple’s reach would extend to all major U.S. carriers, and China Mobile signing on would mean that the iPhone would become available to over 600 million potential subscribers.

While analyst expectations are not always the most dependable source of information, this report is in keeping with what we’ve been hearing about Apple’s next iPhone revision. Rumors abound that we won’t see any new hardware introduced at WWDC this June, and fall has been widely cited as the most likely candidate for an iPhone update. The iPhone “4s” name has also surfaced before, back in April when it was used to describe a prototype handset being circulated by Apple among developers with an A5 chip for use in creating next-gen games. Supplier checks also often reveal clues about future Apple products, since the third-party supply chain isn’t as easily guarded as Apple itself.

Misek also claims that LTE chipsets from Qualcomm aren’t yet ready for mass production of the next iPhone, so we won’t see LTE support in the next hardware revision.

Take this report with a grain of salt, but if Apple decides to repeat what it did with the iPhone 3G and 3GS with the iPhone 4 and its successor, this does match with what I’d expect to see from a hardware update. What do you think about this latest next-gen iPhone rumor?

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