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Signs mounting that an LTE 4G iPhone is coming

Good news for Apple users who love high-speed mobile connections: there’s more and more evidence the company is readying LTE 4G capability for the iPhone. The real question then is: when will it show up to market?

On Friday, Forbes reported that Apple had posted job openings on LinkedIn searching for wireless field test engineers with experience in working with LTE. Par of a field engineer’s job is to cruise around with a new phone in hand, testing its ability to find a signal through the network. Presumably, Apple would only need field engineers versed in the ways of LTE if they already had a phone that was LTE capable for the engineers to test.

Prior to that, Boy Genius Report announced it had obtained evidence that carriers were testing LTE-equipped versions of iPhones. BGR found a copy of a test build of iOS5 designed for use in carriers’ testing protocol. Within the build was a property list (.plist) file for LTE functionality. While it’s only a test build, and not the final version of the firmware, it’s not possible to know if LTE will arrive with the iPhone 5. But the fact that carriers are testing it suggests the technology is close to release.

AppleInsider has verified the existence of the .plist file BGR reported, this time in multiple iOS5 developer builds. That developers are receiving the LTE-supporting firmware suggests that the 4G iPhone is pretty close at hand.

Furthermore, Engadget has reported that AT&T was installing LTE equipment in a “major” Apple store. While Engadget has since removed the photo evidence, the equipment was allegedly being installed to show customers just how fast LTE networks are. That Apple is reading demo equipment in its stores would seem to be the best evidence that a 4G iPhone is near.

But although all signs are pointing to an LTE iPhone coming, no one can be sure when it will actually appear. One thing is for sure: with Apple (and its giant market share) planning to use LTE, it looks like that tech will be carriers’ 4G network of choice.

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Derek Mead
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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