Until yesterday, I think the entire tech world had written off any chance of Apple’s next smartphone supporting a 4G platform. It’s a relatively new technology and it doesn’t quite have all the bugs ironed out yet — not typically something Apple dabbles in.

However, a recent BGR report rekindled 4G hopes, offering up proof that carriers were testing LTE-capable iPhones. Today, Engadget has even more evidence to add to the pile. Apparently Apple Stores are installing LTE equipment, and they have a picture to prove it…

The image you see above shows some LTE equipment that was recently installed in a major Apple Store. An anonymous tipster sent the photo into the tech site this morning, along with some other interesting information.

Although Verizon is the only major U.S. carrier with a deployed LTE network, Engadget’s source says AT&T installed the equipment. AT&T was expected to launch their new Long Term Evolution network this summer, but has yet to do so.

Of course the equipment could be part of a long-term plan to roll out LTE, and may not necessarily mean that the upcoming iPhone will be 4G-capable. But the new hardware mixed with the LTE files found in a carrier-build version of iOS really makes you think.

Will we see a 4G iPhone this year?

Update: The tipster who sent in the picture of the LTE equipment has asked Engadget to remove it. They in turn have asked us to remove it, so of course we have obliged. The picture above has been changed to a generic Apple Store photo.