Apple iPad: 4G or Not 4G?

That is the question, even if Apple has actually given scant evidence about what it is unveiling Wednesday

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

March 6, 2012

2 Min Read
Apple iPad: 4G or Not 4G?

The big question about Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s event in San Francisco on Wednesday is whether it will see the launch of the first 4G-capable Long Term Evolution (LTE) iPad or not.

In typical inscrutable fashion, Apple has given no details ahead of the launch, merely sending out an invite that features a close-up of a finger on a touchscreen. This has led to rampant speculation about whether Apple is gearing up to launch the iPad 3 with LTE technology that can deliver downloads up to 10 times faster than with early 3G networks.

A future in 4G
The 4G wheels started turning when The Wall Street Journal reported that the next iPad will support the multi-megabit download wireless data technology. While others, like ITPortal, have turned out pictures sourced from a "Chinese website" that claims no LTE chipset.

LTE onboard would be good news for Verizon Wireless , as it has 195 4G markets active as opposed to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s 28 live cities. Conversely, another 3G update with no 4G onboard would likely benefit AT&T, as Apple would likely update the device so that it supports faster high-speed packet access (HSPA) technology, like the iPhone 4S on AT&T's network. (See iPhone Awards: Verizon's Reliable, AT&T's Fastest.)

Everything flows from LTE
By advancing the most popular tablet platform in the world, an LTE iPad is likely to change data usage patterns once again. Currently, notes Thomson Reuters , most people use Wi-Fi for their tablet connectivity. The wire service, however, suspects that an LTE iPad could boost mobile video viewing over carrier networks.

CBS News suggests that a sharper "Retina" display could also improve the user's viewing pleasure. In fact, some analysts and news organizations suggest that a new Apple tablet could actually be dubbed the iPad HD.

Stop me if you've heard this one before
None of these rumors are yet confirmed from any official sources and there has been plenty of speculation about an LTE iPad before that tuned out to be incorrect. Many expected an LTE iPad in late 2011, which never arrived. There have also been numerous rumors about an LTE iPhone that haven't resulted in a new smartphone yet.

Read more
Whatever arrives Wednesday, Apple has been working on LTE for eventual delivery:

  • All Those Rotten Apple Rumors

  • LTE iPad Coming to Japan?

  • Apple iPhone 5: Falling for 4G?

  • Evidence of Apple's LTE Testing Mounts

  • The iPhone's Future Is 4G

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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