Apple’s Carrier Partners Testing LTE-Capable iPhones?

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BGR is reporting that testing appears to already be underway for a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone, by Apple’s carrier partners. This has come to light due to the recent discovery of a special test build of iOS which is carrying a property list file for compatibility with LTE.

The report notes that they cannot determine if 4G LTE will be coming to the forthcoming iPhone model, or future models, only that Apple and their carrier partners are indeed testing compatibility for the high speed standard. Of course, it’s expected that the next-generation iPhone will support HSPA+, which has been advertised as “4G”, but carriers are trying to roll out LTE 4G networks, which are even faster than HSPA+.

Apple isn’t expected to adopt the LTE 4G standard in their devices any time soon due to the lack of LTE chipsets that would suite Apple’s needs. That is, current chips are too big, and too power hungry for Apple to cram into their devices. However, chips that would suite Apple’s fancy are expected to hit the market in early 2012.

In summary, it shouldn’t be that surprising that Apple is looking into LTE technology. The only real question is when we could see this faster data network standard make it’s way to the iPhone. If I had to guess, we’ll see it come to the iPhone next year. Remember, Apple played a similar waiting game with the original iPhone only supporting EDGE data service, while carriers fully deployed their 3G services.

Image courtesy of BGR.

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