The LTE update is a key and oft-rumored upgrade for the latest iPad. It will deliver data downloads much faster than the iPad 2 when in the coverage areas for the new mobile broadband technology.
The iPad 2 currently tops out at around 1.5 Mbit/s on 3G downloads. Apple carrier partner, Verizon Wireless , promises average downloads in the 5Mbit/s-to-12Mbit/s range for LTE. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), meanwhile, merely says that its new LTE service offers speeds up to ten times that of 3G. (See AT&T: Most iPads Stay Connected.) On the face of it, Verizon offers better coverage for an LTE iPad. The operator has 196 4G markets (cities and towns) up and running now, covering more than 200 million Americans. AT&T has 28 cities live with LTE, covering over 74 million in the U.S. The specifications of the "new iPad" say that the device has support for "HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA," meaning that AT&T users can fall back to fast 3G downloads at around 5 Mbit/s in many parts of the country. (See Apple iPad: 4G or Not 4G?)
Other features of the iPad include:
- A new "Retina" display with 3.1 million pixels, four times that of the iPad 2
- An upgraded A5X quad-core processor on board
- A 5 megapixel camera
- Support for 1080p HD-resolution video
- And, both CDMA and GSM iPad users can now roam internationally
The new iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. A new iPad with Wi-Fi and 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available at $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model. Prices on current iPad 2 models are being dropped by $100, meaning they now start at $399.
The latest iPad goes on sale on Friday, March 16. The device will then also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Customers can start pre-ordering today.
Curiously, Apple has dropped the numbering system for the latest cut of its best-selling tablet. At the launch, CEO Tim Cook and crew simply kept referring to the device as "the new iPad."
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile