AT&T iPhone 4S Now Has 4G…Kinda-Sorta

Amongst all the new iPad details revealed yesterday, Apple also released an update to its iOS software for the current iPhone and iPad. And while there's a laundry list of new features, it brings  "4G" to AT&T iPhone 4S owners… sort of.

Those that updated their AT&T iPhone 4s with the newest software may notice that a 4G indicator has now taken the place of the 3G logo in the top left corner.

However, that doesn't mean iPhone users will be getting faster speeds on their iPhones. Apple and AT&T have simply changed the naming to reflect AT&T's new name for its HSPA+ network.

"AT&T iPhone 4S customers have been getting 4G speeds since day one," AT&T's Director of Corporate Communications Emily J. Edmonds told ABC News.

Apple maintains that this is simply a name change on its part as well.  "AT&T has rolled out a nationwide HSPA+ network and they refer to this high-speed network as 4G.  With iOS 5.1, iPhone 4S users will now see this reflected in the status bar," Apple's Natalie Harrison told us.

AT&T has faced a lot of criticism from technology experts on its 4G nomenclature. Although the network is technically faster than traditional 3G networks from Verizon or Sprint, it isn't as fast as LTE, which many consumers have come to associate with the "4G" term. AT&T has been calling its HSPA+ network "4G" for the last year and many smartphones available from the carrier, such as the Galaxy Note, etc. are marketed as 4G.

The new iPad, however, will have true 4G or LTE service from both AT&T and Verizon.

It's all a tad confusing, but the point is: not all 4G is equal and AT&T's 4G status on the iPhone 4S certainly doesn't mean you will see any difference in speed compared with when it said "3G" just yesterday.

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