High level execs from South Korea’s KT recently told local Korea Times that they not only planned to distribute early-release 4G iPhones to select corporate customers in April, but that they planned for full release by June. That’s not all they said, either.
KT, formerly Korea Telecom, is the exclusive Apple partner in their respective market. According to the execs, they reached an agreement with Apple to begin selectively releasing the phones in April, as a “litmus test.” If all goes well, they plan to release to the public in June. The sources who spoke to the paper asked that their names not be released with the information, but spoke freely otherwise.
KT says that the phones they’re planning to distribute aren’t just 4G models of the popular iPhone 3GS, they’re heavily upgraded. Improvements include an OLED screen of indeterminate size, live video chat capability (which begs the question of a front-facing camera), a dual-core processor as well as upgraded graphics hardware — neither of which were given any specific names or numbers. A removable battery was rather cryptically mentioned as “highly likely,” which could mean there are two models being tested — one with and one without. Apple’s been plagued with battery issues since the very first iPod line, so it’s no surprise that it’s still an issue today.
The camera itself isn’t mentioned in the report but logically speaking, if Apple is revving up the onboard graphics handling, then it’s probably upgrading the somewhat meager camera, as well. This also ties in to an earlier report at Apple Insider that Apple has moved in recent months to purchase large quantities of both 5 Megapixel image sensors as well as LED flash modules.
Normally, this sort of info would get stamped with RUMOR, but the KT execs weren’t hinting at anything — they’re excited to start selling the new phones. Aside from all the technical information they divulged, they also stated that they have been in talks with telecom carriers outside South Korea about launch dates for the new phone.
If KT is already this sure about their own release dates, even if selective for corporate customers, and they’re working in concert with Apple, then it’s safe to say that carriers the world over are also likely set to release the phone sometime this summer. Unfortunately, 4G networks in some of those countries, America included, may not be so ready for public use just yet.