Making sense of iPhone 5 LTE rumors

There are a couple of conflicting stories this weekend about wether or not Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 -- which could be set for launch on October 7 -- will have 4G LTE wireless networking built in.

BGR claims to have caught a glimpse at a plist file (preferences list) from an iPhone carrier that shows some interesting LTE info:

BGR has obtained evidence of an internal iOS test build from one of Apple’s major carrier partners, and buried in the firmware is a property list (.plist file) for LTE. 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.

The Cell Phone Junkie, however, points out that the chips Apple probably wants to use still won't be ready until 2012:

Typically, a switch in chips would require a 3-4 month production process on Qualcomm’s part for the initial order. This would mean if the iPhone 5 was using anything other than the MDM6600 for an October release, we would have likely heard about a leak (like the one from the The Street for it launch) for the switch to something different. And unless Apple is pushing the device launch into early 2012, I don’t see a chip switch happening this year.

So how do we reconcile these apparently conflicting reports? Apple almost certainly has LTE iPhones in the labs so they no doubt have iOS builds that can run the radio. It's possible the plist entry exists for lab testing but not for real world use.

That means we'd still get an HSPA+ "4G" iPhone 5 in 2011, but would still be waiting on an LTE 4G iPhone 6 in 2012.

Unless of course Apple's managed to work a miracle and decided to make iPhone 5 the first AT&T LTE device...

[BGR, The Cell Phone Junkie]