Monday, March 05, 2012

New reports stir the iPad 3 'LTE-compatible' flames

Apple's iPad 3 (or iPad HD) will indeed sport 4G LTE support, according to a new report. To be honest, the reports about next-gen iPad LTE support have been yea of late, but prior to this report, M.I.C. Gadget reported that its sources said lack of LTE was how Apple kept the iPad 3 price points identical to the iPad 2.

We've been leaning toward LTE support for some time, although it's true that second generation LTE chipsets won't appear until the second quarter. It's also unclear how Apple will make an iPad that can handle the many different 4G frequency bands being used internationally. The Wall Street Journal was among those stating that both AT&T and Verizon would be have LTE-equipped iPads, but did not elaborate on carriers outside the U.S.

Even AT&T and Verizon have incompatible LTE frequencies, with Verizon saying long ago its devices would not work on AT&T's LTE network, meaning unlocking would not be possible.

For Verizon, LTE support is key.  Its 3G CDMA network cannot compete with AT&T's HSPA network; it needs an LTE iPad to be able to sell Apples to Apples with AT&T's version (pun intended).

At the same time, the latest report bounces back in the other direction and says that a quad-core processor is again on the table for the iPad 3. Recent reports have stated that an A5X processor, believed to be dual-core instead of quad-core, was slated for the iPad 3 instead of a quad-core A6.

It's always possible the A5X would be quad-core, but with the designation seeming to imply A5 enhanced, that would seem unlikely.

Still, with Apple, who knows. We are still not even sure if the iPad 3 will be called that, or the iPad HD based on its rumored retina display.

All will be made clear in the hour or so after 10 a.m. PST on Wednesday, during Apple's next-generation iPad introduction event.

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