Why would AT&T be installing LTE equipment at Apple Stores? [Updated]

Why would AT&T be installing LTE equipment at Apple Stores

A while back TiPb heard something that sounded so outlandish, so beyond the realm of possibility, that we decided not to publish it -- that AT&T's 4G LTE launch hero device could, in fact, be the iPhone. It still sounds outlandish, even though there hasn't been word one about which phone AT&T will launch with, but given the availability of the logical Qualcomm LTE chipset, it still seems beyond the realm of possibility.

But BGR recently caught glimpse of LTE references in a carrier-test build of iOS firmware, and now Engadget has heard that LTE equipment in the 700MHz and AWS frequencies is being installed in major Apple Stores in the US... by AT&T.

I'm not getting my hopes up, nor should you. AT&T could still launch an Android device and Apple could still wait for 2012 for an LTE powered iPhone 6. But as Hans Gruber said in Die Hard, Christmas is the time for miracles.

UPDATE: 9to5Mac says Verizon is also installing LTE equipment at Apple Stores. [9to5Mac]

[Engadget

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

MiracleMan says:

I'll go out on a limb and say you will see the next announcement from Apple will be the iPhone 4G, an LTE phone for AT&T. When the first iPhone 3G rolled out, 3G service was very limited and most people were on Edge as AT&T ramped up their 3G. If history repeats itself, AT&T will have limited LTE networking but needs a phone to jump on it when its ready. No reason for Apple to end up 9 months behind the marker on a 4G phone.

JimmyD#IM says:

"... most people were on Edge..."
Made me laugh just a little.
Many still are on edge!

eahinrichsen says:

I doubt that, mostly because LTE is still a HUGE drain on battery life, and battery life is a giant selling point for Apple (as it has to be, since they'll never release a device with a removable battery). Unless they have developed an LTE radio that is way more battery-friendly than the competition's, they'd have to offer a band-toggle switch, which I believe they've been reticent about in the past.
Also, AT&T's 3G network was fairly robust by mid-2008. I had had a 3G phone since early 2007, and it was a Samsung BlackJack, not exactly a first-in-class phone.

Manuel says:

I hope you're wrong or I would be very surprised that it took that long in US to start using 3G. When Apple released the original iPhone, 3G availability in Europe was good already and many phones were using it. At least here it was absolutely necesary to release the iPhone 3G to compete.

Chris says:

Ahhh the mexican comments. Why aren't you picking berries my friend?

Overthought says:

Die Hard line just made my day.

Nick Powers says:

Here's hoping that this is not simply encouraging news without any tangible outcome. I would LOVE for Apple to go LTE on the next iPhone, especially if it maintains similar battery life. My only concern is how AT&T would spin the LTE service to keep my unlimited plan from using it.

Marcin23 says:

Kind of disapointed that "LTE" is not in ( ) and the words whose first letters contribute to that abbrv are not anywhere in this blog post. Where did the peeps running this website get their education- from a cereal box?

eahinrichsen says:

Considering that the site's readership is relatively aware of industry jargon, omitting the explanation for a commonly-used initialism like LTE is a generally accepted practice. It stands for Long-Term Evolution, by the way.

mark says:

i agree with marcin. first, your assumption (erik) regarding the readership is incorrect. secondly, regardless, it's poor journalistic writing to refer to an acronym like "LTE" without first defining it.
furthermore, the article states that readers "shouldn't get their hopes up." although this implies that LTE must be something desirable, the article doesn't state that it is, nor does it state why it's desirable.
the article is very poorly written, and i came here to say so, only to discover that fact had already been mentioned.

George Elias says:

This is what will happen, AT&T will have 4G on their iphones first, 6-7 months later Verizon will get it. Another reason I want to switch. I wont though until(doubt it will happen) AT&T brings back unlimited data. Hopefully this happens on release to entice people to come back over. Verizon Iphones on ebay sell so cheaply too :-( rip

Chris says:

Why not the same date?

Dumbledorf says:

Nice one, good sir! Very nice!

Danny2582 says:

Yippie ki yeay mother f'er

Rick Milligan says:

Why would att add a cell site in a building that will probably be in a 4g city I. The next few months when some areas still don't have 3G

scottae316 says:

Sorry, but if you are talking about what "was" the definition of 4G, no one has it. But the ISO caved and allowed it.

Justin William Anderson says:

For the ipod7/iphone7/ipad 7/ ipic7/ ipock7/ ipen7/ LTE 3G4G5G6G buckle my shoes G. who cares just wait till they announce the phone I like surprises DONT YOU.