The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that “according to people familiar with the matter,” Verizon Wireless and AT&T will sell the new version of the iPad that runs on 4G LTE network. Apple is expected to announce the launch of the iPad 3 sometime during the first week of March. Apple has traditionally shied away from endorsing overt support for early faster networks. It prefers to let such technologies mature and take root before introducing them to its most popular product, the iPhone.
The introduction of 4G LTE to the iPad allows Apple to use the tablet as a model for finally introducing LTE to the iPhone. As the iPad packs a larger battery than the iPhone, the company need not worry overmuch about the drain on battery life from the more power hungry LTE radio chips. Secondly, as the iPad is not a phone, Apple can work on the 4G data network without having to deal with the problems of call management and shifting calls. But unlike the iPad which can be used on cellular networks not fully deployed, the iPhone is a different matter. Apple does not want to invest heavily in a technology, that as of yet is still not widely available. Though 4G LTE has picked up steam in the US with Verizon Wireless and AT&T’s networks, many of the world’s carriers do not yet have LTE networks on which to run. Apple wants any technology that it supports to be widely usable.
With this in mind, both Verizon and AT&T are banking heavily on their LTE networks to attract new subscribers to the smartphones and tablets such as the iPad. The iPad would give the nation’s largest carriers increased demand for the faster LTE service. The iPad will also test how the LTE network will respond to heavier data use. Apple’s current version of the iPad, the iPad 2, which runs on 3G consumes about four to eight times the amount of data as an iPhone. As LTE expands its coverage across the nation, other carriers such as Sprint and T- Mobile are also investing heavily in the technology. It is not yet confirmed whether they will be selling Apple’s tablets in March as well.