updated 03:50 pm EDT, Sun June 26, 2011
ATT LTE schedule makes references to iPad, iPhone
A pair of findings within one of LulzSec's last hacking runs gave indirect clues as to the prospects of LTE-based Apple devices. As part of a late November and early December speed test schedule, the carrier is listing tests that would involve "iPad new activations HLS using the new rate plan." The testing led iFans to suggest that LTE iPads wouldn't reach customers' hands until early 2012, lining up with Apple's one-year update cycle.
Actual service would go live in September, although one document mentioned an October 17 date.
A mention of the iPhone wasn't as clear. It broke down the LTE deployment to a pre-LTE phase as well as Phase 1 and Phase 2. In Phase 2, due to take place in September, a reference to "LTE smartphone, HSPA+ smartphone, iPhone migration" implies the iPhone is factored into the launch. The mention doesn't necessarily equate to an LTE iPhone and may instead just refer to a new iPhone in September, since LTE Phase 2 mentions not just a separate LTE phone but also an HSPA+ handset such as the Samsung Infuse 4G.
An upgrade to LTE isn't probable for any iOS hardware this year due to technology constraints. When it released the Verizon iPhone, Apple said 4G would have needed design sacrifices to make it fit, and most Android-equipped LTE phones have had poor battery life. Most predictions have had Apple moving to faster HSPA+ 3G this year and waiting until 2012 for optimized 4G and larger coverage areas.