While reports that Apple carrier partners were testing iPhone models equipped with LTE radios appeared last week, a new report discovered a LTE.plist file in iOS 5 developer builds for both the GSM iPhone 4 and the CDMA iPad 2. Though this finding does not necessarily indicate that Apple plans to release 4G LTE-compatible devices soon, it does confirm rumors that the Cupertino-based company is conducting tests with the high-speed technology.
News of the upcoming iPhone 5 has been buzzing for months, and though the hush-hush of the device is nothing new from Apple, the phone’s supposed release date is. This is the first iPhone that the company hasn’t introduced in early summer, opting for a mid-fall debut instead. While it can be speculated this launch date is meant to coincide with the new iPod touch and supposed iPad 3, the reason for the late release could be because AT&T’s 4G LTE network isn’t ready yet.
AT&T’s LTE network is still set to launch in five markets this summer, however the carrier claimed its first 4G devices would be a laptop modem and mobile hotspot, not a handset. The company announced that it will not release a LTE-compatible smartphone until later this year, focusing on strengthening its HSPA+ network in the mean time.
Does AT&T consider October later this year? This question determines whether the carrier will be releasing an iPhone 5 on its LTE network. Theoretically, the carrier could release the iPhone 5 with an LTE radio but without the necessary software to run it, and later enable it with a software update.
Rumors of a 4G iPhone began in March when Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, expressed his interest in an LTE phone. If these rumors hold true, it appears Verizon could be the first carrier to launch the 4G iPhone 5 on its LTE network, as AT&T continues to work on its high-speed network.