Imagining the LTE iPad
The Mac maven could use the bigger device as a test-pad for 4G issues while having to worry a little less about the size of the chips and the battery life than it would with the iPhone.
Apple's carrier partners, meanwhile, would get to test-drive a very popular tablet on their new LTE networks while not having to deal with the inevitable millions of activations that will follow the launch of an LTE iPhone.
I suspect that cost will be the largest gating factor for Apple and its carrier partners involving an LTE iPad. IHS iSuppli found that High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)'s use of LTE in the ThunderBolt added $39.75 to the total cost of $262 to build the smartphone. Apple and its carriers would have to decide if users get to eat the extra end-cost or they want to subsidize the devices with a long-term contract.
We also don't know yet exactly how much traffic an LTE iPad would consume. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) said recently that current tablets consume five times more data than smartphones. That could potentially increase with more video access and multimedia streaming over LTE.
That might possibly stress the network in a few parts of San Franscisco, Silverlake, Williamsburg and Brooklyn to begin with, but you can bet that carriers will be watching traffic patterns on LTE like a hawk.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile