Apple may not be delivering a 4G LTE iPhone 5 this year, but the company appears to be rapidly pursuing 4G connectivity for future iPhone and iPad devices.
Last week we shared the news that some Apple stores may have begun installing 4G LTE equipment to boost the signal. We also shared the Boy Genius Report claim that Apple was testing 4G LTE devices with major carriers out in the field.
Now, new news comes in from MacRumors, which confirms the existence of 4G LTE references in the .plist file found on select iOS 5 developer builds.
On top of all this, Apple has started searching for engineers with LTE experience to join the team at Cupertino. This job opening is for field test engineers with LTE expertise.
Forbes explains what field testing means, “going outside (“into the field”) with a new cellphone and measuring its signal strength.” This step is typically taken as a company prepares to bring a product to market. Many of the leaked images of phones like the Droid Bionic come from devices that are out in the hands of field testers.
While field testing is typically done close to the release of the phone, we don’t expect a 4G LTE iPhone in 2011. This is one of the reasons I argued that Apple could release the iPhone 5 when it wants, like in 2012, when LTE is ready.
Apple has acknowledges that the first generation 4G LTE devices require compromises that the company doesn’t want to make. The biggest compromise would likely be in relation to the size and weight of a LTE iPhone that could last all day long.
if you need an iPhone with LTE, you will probably be waiting until the middle of 2012, when the iPhone 6 could arrive.