Rumor says iPhone 5 orders hitting Foxconn; Sprint could offer 4G LTE iPhone

Mar 28, 2012
Tech

Rumor has it that Foxconn has received a big new order of iPhones and is looking to hire new workers to make sure it can fill Apple’s request before the launch of the next generation of the company’s smartphone later this year. According to SlashGear, a news report out of Taiyuan, Shanxi, China says that […]

Rumor has it that Foxconn has received a big new order of iPhones and is looking to hire new workers to make sure it can fill Apple’s request before the launch of the next generation of the company’s smartphone later this year.

According to SlashGear, a news report out of Taiyuan, Shanxi, China says that Foxconn is ready to hire all kinds of new workers, 20,000 in fact, for the express purpose of building the next iPhone, tentatively called the iPhone 5. The local report says that production is already starting to pick up at Foxconn’s Taiyuan plant, and the electronics manufacturer is building 20 recruitment centers across the area to find and hire new workers.

But as SlashGear reports, while Foxconn is hiring new workers in Taiyuan, it might not necessarily mean the company already got its iPhone marching orders. The Taiyuan facility is undergoing a strike at the moment, and this may well be Foxconn’s way of leveraging the next iPhone, expected sometime in the late summer or early fall, to clear out the striking workers in favor of hiring new ones.

Sprint to get 4G LTE iPhone 5?

As for the new iPhone, expect to see one just like every year, with a good possibility Foxconn will be putting it together. And there’s a chance that the iPhones that factory workers will be building will include 4G LTE capabilities, possibly with coverage from Sprint.

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During an investor call Tuesday, Sprint CFO John Euteneuer mentioned that there’s nothing standing in the way of Sprint offering a 4G LTE iPhone 5 on its network later this year. Like the Foxconn rumor, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, either; just that Sprint isn’t bound by contracts or other technicalities that might keep it from signing on with Apple to offer the next iPhone with 4G LTE capabilities.

Sprint is building oout its LTE network, which is behind front-runner Verizon and AT&T in size and service, but which the company is actively expanding. It seems like better-than-even odds that Apple is going to make the next iPhone capable of using 4G LTE networks for data streaming, given that it just worked the technology into its newly released third-generation iPad. If Apple trusts the technology for the iPad, it seems silly that it wouldn’t make it available in the iPhone as well, if it can.

In terms of whether we’ll see a 4G LTE iPhone on Sprint, however, probably comes down to a few factors, with coverage being one of them. The health of Sprint’s 4G network will probably factor into Apple’s decisions as to whether it offers the device on Sprint’s network. If coverage is only available for a small number of users, Apple might opt not to sell the device.

Last year, Sprint said it was looking to cover 260 markets with 4G by 2013 and looked to have 120 covered by the end of 2011; meanwhile, Verizon was targeting 175 markets for 4G at the opening of 2012. Those numbers are fairly comparable – we’ll have to wait to see just what kind of iPhone options Apple makes available later this year.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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