iPad HD to have 4G LTE? Not as crazy as it sounds

6 Mar 2012

Fourth-generation (4G) wireless via Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities are expected to feature in the next iPad, or the iPad HD as it is now becoming known, which is due to debut tomorrow. This is not as crazy as it sounds when you consider LTE networks are already active in the US.

The leap from second-generation CDMA to fourth-generation LTE networks in the US and Canada and parts of Asia was much more fluid than in Europe, where operators are still trying to squeeze value out of their investments in 3G HSPA+ networks. US tech site iMore says the same source that confirmed the Apple event for 7 March confirmed LTE capability.

LTE was the talk of the show at Mobile World Congress this year and Telefónica Digital blanketed the Fira district of Barcelona with LTE coverage of up to 50Mbps on mobile devices and up to 100Mbps on PCs with LTE dongles.

Having trialled LTE on a Samsung Android tablet during the show, the speeds were blisteringly fast, superior to the obviously crowded out Wi-Fi networks and coverage quality was excellent. LTE was made for tablet computing and smartphones, and from talking to people who used the dongles, mobile computing is about to get super charged.

Unfortunately, European countries – the UK and Ireland included – are held up by such things as oft-delayed wireless spectrum auctions, although some countries like Germany may get off the ground sooner with LTE.

So, if the iPad HD debuts tomorrow outside the US it will still need to cater for 3G networks and possibly be future-proofed for the eventual arrival of 4G.

In the US, Verizon and AT&T are rumoured to be prepared to sell iPad HD devices with 4G with speeds of up to 20Mbps a distinct possibility. It is understood that up to five major carriers in the US are offering LTE services with most devices in the market Android-based.

It doesn’t sound that crazy at all that Apple plans to super charge its iPad line with 4G.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years