It’s been accepted as somewhat common knowledge that the next iPhone would not be an LTE device. Given what we’ve seen with LTE phones thus far, the battery drain is just too heavy and the chipsets aren’t yet refined enough for them to make sense in an Apple device.
However, if what we’re seeing on BGR turns out to be true then Apple is at least carrier testing an LTE iPhone. It seems that the site has gotten its hands onto a property list (plist) file that shows traces of LTE in the code:
Now you’ll notice that the title of this says that this is no surprise. I stand by that assertion and here’s why — Of course Apple is carrier testing an LTE iPhone. It has to at some point, in order to make sure that it will be able to release such a device when the time is right.
But this doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to buy it in October.
Mind you, even BGR is quick to point out that the testing phase doesn’t mean that it’s coming soon:
This doesn’t necessarily mean every Apple device that’s about to be released will feature an embedded 4G LTE modem, but it certainly means Apple isn’t sitting on the sidelines as 4G LTE networks continue to roll out around the world.
In fact, had the plist not said “connected” we could even believe that the phone wasn’t on a carrier just yet. The presence of a plist file doesn’t mean much until it is spotted on a carrier. The plist is a file that stores settings. As such, it would need to be present in any functional device, not only those that are already out for testing.
So there you have it. Hold your breath all you want, but chances are that we’re still not going to see an LTE iPhone in 2011. Perhaps we’ll get a mid-cycle refresh on the device after the next version is launched, or maybe Apple is looking at other options. As it stands, the battery-hungry LTE chips of the world are simply not a good match for already-hungry iPhones.