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4G/3G/WiFi

LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

4:15 PM -- I was one of those silly, shortsighted people who bought the 3G iPad 2 just months before Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced the next version that will run on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. (See Apple iPad: 4G or Not 4G?.)

But, I'm cool with that.

While I'm happy Apple is getting on board with LTE, it's not yet enough of a selling point to have to run out and buy a new one. Here's why I'm not upgrading (yet):
  • I never use 3G on my iPad 2. I've paid for it for two months in a row, thinking I'd take my iPad everywhere, but found myself in range of free Wi-Fi whenever I wanted to use it. Despite what AT&T's Glenn Lurie says -- that those who turn on 3G set it to automatic renewal -- I think I'm more similar the majority of iPad users. (See AT&T: Most iPads Stay Connected.)

  • LTE isn't everywhere yet. Verizon covers 200 million POPs with LTE and AT&T covers 74 million. I'm in Chicago where both carriers have an LTE network up and running, but the LTE version would likely come in handy the most while I'm traveling. And, there's no guarantee LTE networks will be operating in the cities that I visit but there is a guarantee that 3G service will be easy to find. (See Mapping LTE: AT&T & Verizon's 4G Footprints.)

  • Data plans bring me to tiers. With the new iPad's beautiful 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina display and 1080p video recording, I'd want to do a lot of video watching and maybe even uploading. If the data caps remain the same for the new iPad with LTE as they are on the iPad 2, I would bust past them in no time, making my iPad habit incredibly expensive. AT&T and Verizon haven't announced data plan pricing, nor what the caps will be, but if the new data plans don't contain the word "unlimited," I doubt they'll be all that compelling. (See Balancing Faster 4G Data & Tighter Caps and Mobile Upload Uprising.)


Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see LTE included in the iPad, especially since it's out of Apple's character to be on the cutting edge of networks. It'll be important to move the entire ecosystem forward, and the iPad is the perfect showcase for its 4G speeds.

But, LTE just isn't enough to cause me to upgrade my tablet while the old one still has that fresh new Apple smell to it.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:40:06 PM
re: LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

"Data plans bring me to tiers"--Great line! A person would have to do some homework to figure out which data plan might be the most suitable....and then you could still wind up selecting one you wish you hadn't a month or two later.


kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:40:12 PM
re: LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

I doubt the LTE feature will be a buying point for many customers. The iPad is the perfect "nomadic" as opposed to "mobile" device, meaning you tend to use it in situations where you may not be at home or the office, but you are likely not moving. Which includes on the couch, sitting in bed, etc.


And yes the service plans "bringing you to tiers" (love it!) is guaranteed to keep people from doing what Glenn Lurie wishes for -- keeping iPads turned on while mobile and connected to a cellular network. There just isn't a compelling enough application to push people to spend spend spend simply to watch video at a slightly better data rate.


Now LTE on an iPhone is a little different story. When that comes, LTE will definitely be a selling point because the iPhone is all about mobile use and not so much nomadic, where Wi-Fi is likely to be available. 

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:40:12 PM
re: LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

I doubt the LTE feature will be a buying point for many customers. The iPad is the perfect "nomadic" as opposed to "mobile" device, meaning you tend to use it in situations where you may not be at home or the office, but you are likely not moving. Which includes on the couch, sitting in bed, etc.


And yes the service plans "bringing you to tiers" (love it!) is guaranteed to keep people from doing what Glenn Lurie wishes for -- keeping iPads turned on while mobile and connected to a cellular network. There just isn't a compelling enough application to push people to spend spend spend simply to watch video at a slightly better data rate.


Now LTE on an iPhone is a little different story. When that comes, LTE will definitely be a selling point because the iPhone is all about mobile use and not so much nomadic, where Wi-Fi is likely to be available. 

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:40:12 PM
re: LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

GigaOm saw the LTE pricing when it pre-order the iPad. AT&T starts at $15 for 250 MB to $50 for 5 GB per month, while Verizon goes from $30 for 2GB to $80 for 10 GB. Yikes. I stand by my iPad 2.

timkridel 12/5/2012 | 5:40:12 PM
re: LTE Not a Selling Point for Apple's New iPad

I used 3G for the first five or six months that I had the first-gen iPad, but I've used only Wi-Fi ever since. That's because I use my Wi-Fi mainly at home, and when I'm traveling, I've never had difficulty finding a hotspot. Plus 3G is too slow for a smartphone, let alone a tablet.

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