LTE iPad Coming Soon?

9:50 AM -- Better get ready for the LTE iPad from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), if Bloomberg's report is correct.

The news agency reports that Apple will launch a new iPad in March that will have a quad-core processor, a higher-resolution display and support for Long Term Evolution (LTE), according to "three people familiar with the product."

Apple is reportedly adding LTE support to the iPad before the iPhone because the tablet's battery is bigger and can support the power requirements of the next-generation mobile technology. (See Imagining the LTE iPad.)

Speculation about Apple's next tablet is certainly mounting. A report at the end of last year had it that NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) would launch an LTE iPad in the summer of 2012. (See LTE iPad Coming to Japan?)

But with any new high-end device -- and especially one from Apple -- operators undoubtedly will wonder: What will this do to my network? Users wielding Apple's newest tablet with the better screen quality and faster processor could well be the ultimate test for new LTE networks: How much data will these devices really consume? Or will iPad owners more often stick with Wi-Fi because LTE coverage is patchy? (See iPhone 4S Has a Big Appetite and 2011 Rewind: Where in the World Is LTE? )

I think the arrival of an LTE iPad, whenever that will be, could not only challenge LTE network capacity in some places as well as operators' traffic management capabilities but it should also inspire operators to be more creative with their mobile data price plans and bundles. (See New Data Plans Keep It in the Family .)

Here's what Light Reading Mobile has said about Apple and LTE recently:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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