iOS 5.1 Strings Might Confirm iPhone LTE, But Probably Just Refer To Existing HSPA+ Support

iOS 5.1 Strings Might Confirm iPhone LTE, But Probably Just Refer To Existing HSPA+ Support

Is it 4G or is it LTE?

Now that Apple’s brought LTE to the iPad, it seems a certainty it’ll come to the next iPhone in October as well. Lurking deep in the iOS 5.1 plist files, though, may be proof that Apple’s already building support for LTE into their mobile operating system. Or it might just be more confusion over what 4G actually means: LTE or HSPA+.

Over at iDownloadBlog, Jeff Benjamin reports on some potentially telling new strings found within iOS 5.1’s IPSW files.

“4G_ON_CALL_CANCEL” = “Cancel”;
“4G_ON_CALL_OK_DISABLE” = “Disable”;
“4G_ON_CALL_OK_ENABLE” = “Enable”;
“4G_ON_CALL_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_CALL_WARNING_ENABLE” = “Enabling 4G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to enable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_FACETIME_4G_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G will end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_ON_FACETIME_WIFI_WARNING_DISABLE” = “Disabling 4G may end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 4G?”;
“4G_TEXT” = “Using 4G loads data faster, but may decrease battery life.”;

Benjamin believes this proves LTE is coming to the iPhone 5, but I have some doubts. First of all, internally, Apple distinguishes in iOS 5.1 between “4G” (AT&T’s HSPA+ technology) and true 4G, “LTE.” If you’re on an HSPA+ network on your iPhone 4S or new iPad, you see “4G” in the iOS status bar; if you’re on an LTE network, you see LTE. Apple only lumps these technologies together as 4G in marketing.

All these strings seem to confirm to me is that Apple has put in a new set of strings that warn users on HSPA+ “4G” networks that if they enable or disable their mobile data within settings, they’ll drop their call. It also may confirm that FaceTime will soon work on a mobile internet connection. If it meant LTE was coming to the iPhone, Apple would actually call these strings something like “LTE_ON_CALL_OK_DISABLE, not 4G_DISABLE.

So I personally subscribe a grain of salt to this report, but I could be wrong. Not that it matters: I think it’s a lock that the next iPhone will have LTE no matter what iOS 5.1’s strings say.

  • Aldo TheApache Medina

    crap. If it does get upgraded to LTE, then there goes everyone else’s unlimited data.

  • joewaylo

    God I hope so. FaceTime at long last while (umm…riding) and taking a FaceTime call. Heaven forbid we drivers intend to talk on video and drive.

  • joewaylo

    @Aldo More than likely AT&T will still honor the unlimited data service. But keeping in mind you’re throttled if you download 3GBs or higher for the month. FaceTime more than likely will speed you on your way to the cap if you’re taking a video call not on wifi.

  • M. Yoon

    Off topic, but where can I find that wallpaper?!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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