Why Is Apple Secretly Installing LTE Equipment In Retail Stores Ahead Of The iPhone 5?

By

4g-apple-store

Well, this is juicy! Following yesterday’s report that Apple was already testing an LTE-equipped iPhone with carriers comes this insider photo, showing that AT&T is secretly installing LTE equipment in at least one retail Apple store. Whoa!

Engadget writes:

We’ve received the image you see above, which shows some 4G LTE equipment that was recently installed in a major Apple store — by AT&T, according to our source. Making things somewhat more interesting is the equipment itself, one piece of which supports only the 700MHz and AWS bands — both of which AT&T plans to use for its LTE network if the T-Mobile acquisition goes through.

We’re also told that the Apple Store in question, and all those in the region, are now trying to increase staffing on the sales floor by about 30 percent, which is apparently not related to the usual hiring in the lead up to the holidays (that will apparently still happen later). Of course, this could simply be the result of some long-term planning rather than evidence of the next iPhone, but the timing is a bit curious to say the least.

I don’t think that the next iPhone will have LTE for a second: AT&T and Verizon simply haven’t penetrated enough American markets for this to be a major selling point, yet. In addition, the hardware still drains battery like a mofo. But if LTE isn’t coming with the iPhone 5, what is this LTE hardware for then?