According to an anonymous source who spoke to Engadget, AT&T recently installed some 4G LTE equipment inside an as yet to be identified Apple Store. Said equipment pumps out LTE goodness at 700 MHz, which is no surprise, but also on the AWS bands that AT&T said it would use once their acquisition of T-Mobile goes through. Now the question on everyone’s mind is of course when will Apple launch devices that can connect to said 4G LTE network? Just yesterday we reported that there’s an LTE packing iPhone being tested by Apple, but frankly we’d be stunned if the 5th generation iPhone actually came with LTE capabilities. Could Apple be working together with AT&T to test their network? If so, that would mean that Apple Store staff would be aware of as yet to be released devices, which is highly unlikely. Then there’s the Verizon question, why wouldn’t Apple work with Big Red, who not only has a larger 4G LTE footprint, but has also demonstrated that their network is capable of delivering speeds that make your face melt off?
Too many unanswered questions, mixed with irresponsible reporting, and a good old fashioned “anonymous source”, makes it difficult to gauge the significance of this news. Apple could be planning to shove LTE modems inside not only their next iPhone, but the upcoming third generation iPad, and even the next MacBooks. Doing so would make them a leader in not just the portable consumer electronics device space, but also make them an operator’s best friend since every new piece of gear they sell has the potential of bringing in extra revenue.
All we know is this: It isn’t a question of if Apple will ship LTE capable gear, it’s a matter of when. If it doesn’t happen this year, then 2012 is likely going to be when you’ll be able jump on the wireless high speed information superhighway.