Now that the iPad has the ability to run on 4G LTE networks in the U.S. on Verizon and AT&T, Apple fans are naturally wondering whether that functionality will hit the next model of the iPhone.

According to Taiwanese tech site Digitimes, a prolific and sometimes accurate rumormonger, its checks with Apple suppliers indicate that the next iPhone is “very likely” to support LTE, pushing up the sales of LTE smartphones to 45-50 million.

Of course, we’ve been through this song and dance already, but it seems a bit more likely to come true given the fact that LTE technology is now in the iPad. And with carriers building out their LTE networks at a fast pace, a 4G iPhone would have much more coverage than even the 4S did. Not to mention that Apple appears to have worked out some of the battery issues that plague 4G devices, if its claim to nine hours of battery life for the 4G iPad are any indication.

According to the Digitimes report, checks place the iPhone’s release date somewhere in the “second half of 2012,” leaving no real indication as to whether Apple will return to its summer release schedule or release the next iPhone in the fall again.

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