Developer code points to 4G LTE iPhone

There’s new fuel to the fire of speculation that Apple is working on a 4G version of its inimitable iPhone product line.

Eagle-eyed development enthusiasts culled through the latest version of Apple’s iOS 5 beta build and found a piece of code that reads, “Connected mode LTE Intra-frequency Measurement.”

LTE of course most surely refers to Long Term Evolution, the 4G standard currently used by Verizon and soon to be widely adopted by AT&T. In other words, it applies to both of the iPhone service providers.

This comes after it was discovered that Apple is also looking to recruit new engineers with LTE experience, and thus it seems fairly obvious that a 4G iPhone is on the way.

The question that remains unanswered, though, is when such a phone will be available.

Although the piece of LTE code appears in the iOS 5 beta build, it has only recently shown up – that is, it was not found in earlier versions of the beta.

And, since many expect the next iPhone to be available in less than two months, it may be too soon for it to carry LTE technology. So it’s quite possible that the new iPhone will only run on 3G, and we’ll have to wait until 2012 for a high-speed version.

After all, the iPhone was woefully late to the 3G game so no one was expecting Apple to be on the cutting edge of 4G.

All that being said, however, there are some signs that perhaps an LTE iPhone is closer than we expect, and some have even suggested the new iPhone reveal later this year will be called the iPhone 4G.

Of course, because it’s Apple, we don’t know anything official yet. We’ll just have to hang tight until the company decides to spill the beans.