With the iPad 3 launch only two days away, the rumors and speculation are rapidly increasing. While most blogs are quite sure that the iPad 3 will pack a 2048×1536 resolution retina display, an improved camera, and a new, possibly quad-core Apple A6 chipset, one item on the list of rumors that has been far more "out there" is the possibility of the iPad 3 supporting 4G LTE. Today, credible Apple blog iMore – the same site that broke the news that the iPad 3 event is on March 7th – has received word from that same source that the iPad 3 will indeed be getting 4G LTE.
Something that they are uncertain about, however, is how Apple will handle the various 4G bands utilized internationally. The Wall Street Journal did publish an article a while back that claimed AT&T and Verizon were going to receive LTE iPad 3s – additional backing for today’s report, actually - but our earlier question about international 4G band support remains unanswered. Other significant factors at play here that definitely have influence on Apple’s decision are the cost-effectiveness of implementing a 4G LTE radio, and its impact on battery life.
M.I.C. Gadget, the site that published an alleged hands-on with the iPad 3 front glass, rear shell, and case just yesterday speculated that the iPad 3 will not include 4G LTE. They speculate – and their sources concurred – that not only is implementing 4G LTE support costlier than using the Qualcomm 3G chip, but there is also a limited market for LTE at this time.
Ultimately, with Apple’s "don’t settle" school of thought in mind, it’s unlikely that 4G LTE would be implemented if device quality – whether in terms of battery life, cost, or perhaps even industrial design or aesthetic reasons – is sacrificed in the process. Should this particular rumor prove to be correct, then these factors that we’re concerned about here would be resolved, and compromise, if any, will be minimal.
We expect iPad 3 storage options to remain the same – in today’s increments of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB – along with pricing. M.I.C. Gadget and 9to5Mac have received information suggesting that this is the case as well.
Now, while this (and many of the other rumors we publish) certainly seem to stem from a highly credible source, they should all be taken with a grain of salt. We are only two days away from the official unveiling of the device, and for all we know, Apple may have surprises up their sleeves.