Apple iPhone 4S owners who don't realize that you can't suddenly turn a phone from a 3G device to a 4G device with a magical software update, are pretty excited to see that after downloading the new iOS update their phone now shows a 4G icon. Those who realize that just isn't possible are finding out that Apple messed up.
So here's the problem. Apple has never launched a 4G device before. The new iPad, which goes on sale next week, will be the first. The new iPad will run iOS 5.1, the same software that iPhone 4S owners are updating to. So, the long and the short of it is most likely Apple changed the operating system's display so that the 4G icon would start showing up, but somehow whatever algorithm it used to determine if a user is in a 4G zone is being triggered by iPhone 4S customers.
Interestingly, this problem only exists for iPhone customers on AT&T. Those on Verizon are still seeing the correct 3G icon. AT&T and Verizon operate on different mobile network standards, and it's unclear what exactly triggered this issue. But to be clear, the showing of a 4G symbol on the iPhone 4S is only a display issue and nothing else. No one with an iPhone 4S has he capability to connect to a 4G network.