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Apple Testing 4G for Future iPhone, iPad

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While it might not be ready for the imminent launch of the iPhone 5, there's increasing evidence that Apple is kicking the 4G tires for future iPhone and iPad models.

Last week, Boy Genius Report revealed that Apple's carrier partners are field testing LTE-equipped iPhone models. And this weekend, MacRumors found a property list file (.plist) for LTE within the last few developer builds of iOS 5. The code string was discovered within the builds for the GSM iPhone 4 and CDMA iPad 2 -- however, oddly enough, not in their network counterparts.

This discovery comes at the heels of a photo posted on Engadget which shows 4G LTE equipment installed by AT&T in an Apple retail location, and an Apple job listing seeking field engineers with expertise in LTE.

Although this feels like Cupertino is gearing up for a huge surprise come September, MacRumors' Arnold Kim suggests that we shouldn't get our hopes up until 2012. Earlier this year, Apple's COO Tim Cook said that "the first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset," and those might be some that the company is unwilling to make.

"So yes, Apple is likely field testing early LTE devices (under iOS 5 even), but they probably won't come out until 2012," Kim concludes.

Let's just hope there's an extra "One more thing..." at the next Apple event.

(See also: Apple's iPad 2 Twice as Fast as HP's TouchPad -- Even When Running webOS! and Why Apple Fans Lash Out)

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