We've been waiting longer than usual for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) to update its iPhone line, but it may be worth the wait.
Gadget watcher Boy Genius Report is confirming that wireless carrier partners are testing iPhone units with 4G LTE capability.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. This doesn't mean we'll be seeing support for the speedier network that carriers are starting to roll out in the iPhone 5. It also doesn't mean that we'll be seeing it in this country, given the advanced mobile networks in many other territories.
However, it can't be a coincidence that AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) have been building up their 4G LTE networks. Apple also will need a good reason to explain its departure from the updates that have historically taken place in June or July. We're now looking at a likely release in September or October. A better camera and marginally improved internal guts won't be enough. Rolling out 4G LTE -- and either buying time for Verizon and AT&T to beef up their networks or simply working hard to make sure that the faster connectivity doesn't bleed the battery dry too quickly -- seems to be the most logical explanation for the delay.
Speed kills, though. AT&T and Verizon have made moves to punish or tax data hogs lately, and you know that will only get worse once folks can consume data more quickly. Will that be a deal-breaker? Will the point be irrelevant if we have to wait until the iPhone 6 next summer for 4G LTE support?
We'll find out soon enough. These are interesting times in mobile -- above and beyond yesterday's Googorola deal. Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) introduced several new BlackBerry models earlier this month. Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) hit a multiyear low last week, as investors wonder whether its deal with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) was a suicide pact.
Apple obviously hasn't had a lot to say, since it limits its smartphone refreshes to annual events. We're now just weeks away from that time of the year when Apple has a lot to say. I can't be the only upgrade-eligible iPhone owner hoping that Steve Jobs' promise of "one more thing" is followed by a 4G LTE announcement.
What features do you want to see in the next iPhone? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.