By Wilson Rothman
updated 5/16/2011 2:52:59 PM ET 2011-05-16T18:52:59

The rumor mill is abuzz with iPhone talk, thanks to some analyst prognostication. The skinny? That the next iPhone, due in September, will be called the iPhone 4S, and that it will not have high-speed 4G connectivity. The phone may, however, finally be available to Sprint and T-Mobile customers.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek is quoted in a Forbes report, explaining: “According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support" — but no 4G (LTE or WiMax). The Forbes reportsays that "Apple had hoped to have the LTE chipsets ready, but was planning a version without LTE called iPhone 4S."

You'll recall that, when incrementally upgrading the iPhone 3G, Apple went with the name 3GS. This would presumably be a similar not-so-dramatic step up.

In a spot of good news, Misek cites "industry checks" as laying good odds that, in addition to AT&T and Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile would be among the iPhone 4S's carriers.

According to Tech Trader Daily, another analyst, Keith Bachman of BMO Capital, feels the same way: The phone will have "a better camera and a different casing, but no 4G," says the article. Bachman's beef with 4G is poor battery life.

Analyst predictions are sometimes fun because they're absurd. But these are of interest because they're highly likely. Battery life on 4G phones is pretty bad in our experience. And while 4G chip makers such as Qualcomm, as well as HTC and other phone makers, are working to improve power management, it makes sense that Apple — always conservative with new hardware formats and technologies — plays the waiting game.

The question is, will this hurt Apple? The company seems to have adjusted the annual iPhone launch schedule from June/July to September/October. That means that, theoretically, the iPhone 5/6? may not come until October 2012, long after the Mayan end of days, the Rapture, and the deadline for a flying car in every garage. And more to the point, long after Android solidifies its already impressive lead as most popular smartphone OS.

More speculation, wild or otherwise, on the next iPhone:

Catch up with Wilson on Twitter at @wjrothman, or join our conversation on Facebook.

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