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iPhone Fever Dampered by AT&T Service Shortcomings

The much-hyped 4G LTE is not yet available in Santa Cruz County.

At least once a year, tech fans have a holiday when Apple announces its latest crop of toys. Wednesday was all about the iPhone 5.

The newest Apple phone is actually the sixth iteration of the device, despite its name. With the latest version comes a hefty redesign that has a lot of people buzzing. 

Included in the upgrades are:

  • 4-inch screen with highly sensitive touch sensors
  • Longer battery life: 8 hours of 3G talk time and 8 hours of 3G and LTE web browsing
  • Three microphones in the mix: one on the front, one on the back, and another on the bottom
  • New mini Dock Connector “Lightning”: it’s digital and has eight pins
  • Camera: 40 percent faster image capturing, will support panoramic photos and shared photo streams
  • More networks: Runs with Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T’s LTE networks

It's that last bullet point, the 4G LTE network with its unprecedented processing speed, that has so many people ready to line up for the phone on Sept. 21. While Android phones have been running on 4G for two years, the iPhone has lagged behind, staying with AT&T's 3G since the second version of the phone came out in 2008. 

Over the last year, AT&T has systematically upgraded to 4G across the country, putting it on par with competitors like Verizon. But its claim to superiority, LTE (longterm evolution), which is 10 times faster than 3G, is only available in select areas. Santa Cruz County is not one of those areas. 

. The addition of 4G has partially remedied the issue. The missing LTE, however, will leave iPhone 5 buyers with a muted jump in processing speed compared to areas where LTE is available.

While LTE is eventually coming to the area, a specific date is unkown.

"Specifically I can’t get into timelines, but AT&T is constantly expanding our LTE footprint," AT&T Corporate Communications Director Jon Britton said in an email to Patch. 

See the map above to get a better idea of where 4G is available versus LTE, 3G and the archaic 2G. The darkest blue represents LTE, with the shade that encompasses Santa Cruz County indicating 4G.

Will you buy the iPhone 5 even though the speedy feature isn't yet available in Santa Cruz County? Tell us in the comments!

Cathy P. September 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Nope, no iPhone for me. I'd purchase a Droid before buying anything Apple. I'm one of those dinosaurs who still loves her Blackberry (3G) :-D
Danny Keith September 15, 2012 at 06:26 AM
ATT service in SC County is deplorable. Smart phones have become pocket computers and they are severely hampered when the provider cannot or does not upgrade the service side of the equation. Personally I am very disappointed with ATT and hope they can eventually get service up to par in SC County. With that being said, I will still purchase the iPhone 5 as I travel frequently and even though I face issues with service at times, I am still more productive with than without.
Ricardo October 13, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Even though we are not going to have LTE service for the iPhone five on AT&T I will still buy it. I use it a lot at my job for emailing and texting coworkers. I hope we get LTE service before the iPhone 5S comes out.
Tramscom_Blog October 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM
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