iPhone 4S owners on the AT&T network got a nice surprise when their phones were updated to IOS 5.1 last week. The 3G emblem on the upper left-hand corner was changed to 4G.
While many sites are reporting that this is an error on Apple’s, or AT&T’s, part, we have found evidence that this was a preplanned event.
In October of last year, TheVerge reported that AT&T was working with Apple to change the 3G emblem to 4G. With their report they included an image of a document with ‘talking points,’ indicating that the change of the emblem would occur with an IOS update release. That would tend to indicate that this has been in the works for a while.
Do owners actually get a bump up to 4G connectivity after the update? Unfortunately, no. Owners will not see a difference in speed. In fact, it’s not even possible to do a real 3G to 4G upgrade with software.
This has more to do with AT&T marketing, which is reported to have a wider interpretation of what 4G means than some others. AT&T calls their AT&T’s HSPA+ network ‘4G’, because it is faster than their previous 3G offering. Apparently they’ve talked Apple into calling it 4G as well.
A photo from TheVerge showing the ‘talking points’ from October of 2011 is below.