The iPad was an extraordinary success for Apple – according to one report, Apple managed to unload 43 million of the tablet computers over the course of 2011. So it makes sense that interest would be extremely high in the iPad 3, the purported successor to the iPad 2. Last we checked, Silicon Valley scuttlebutt put the iPad 3 launch in early March; the device is rumored to be getting a better screen, and more powerful innards.
So what other new technology will arrive onboard the iPad 3? A 4G LTE antenna, maybe. This morning, in a much-cited dispatch, The Wall Street Journal reported that at least some versions of the new iPad will get 4G connectivity, both on the AT&T and Verizon Wireless high-speed networks. Caveats abound: The carriers are declining comment, and so is Apple; the Journal says only that the information comes from "people familiar with the matter."
Still, the timing makes sense. Over the last couple months, AT&T and Verizon have begun selling a range of phones that work at 4G speeds, including the Droid 4. (It's worth noting here that with the accelerated download speeds, comes great responsibility: 4G users have to watch that they don't go zooming over their monthly data caps. Verizon, for its part, has re-issued its "double down" 4G promotion to help attract new consumers.)
Over at Information Weeks, Eric Zeman points out that the Verizon LTE network is live in about 200 markets, where it covers approximately 190 million users. AT&T reportedly cuts a smaller swath with its high-speed 4G network: About a dozen markets and 90 million users. Either way, connecting your shiny new iPad 3 to those networks won't be cheap.
"If you're interested in an LTE 4G iPad 3, prepare to pay for it," Zeman writes. "Apple has consistently charged $130 more for cellular-equipped iPads when compared to the Wi-Fi-only models. Whether or not AT&T or Verizon will offer the iPad 3 at a reduced price with a contract is unknown, but not probable. Both Verizon and AT&T offer month-to-month data options for devices such as tablets, but offerings for the iPad 3 have not been announced."