Financial news service Bloomberg reported on Friday that, according to their sources, the next iPad will be coming in March and will not only have the high-definition display that many are anticipating, but also will come with LTE (Long Term Evolution) — the fourth-generation wireless data service that is blazingly fast. Theoretically it offers speeds up to 40 or 50 Mbps, but in practice, perhaps around 2-15 Mbps. In any case, that's fast. Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are all in the process of rolling out LTE networks.
Since rumors are suggesting that the new iOS devices will have quad-core processors, imagine surfing the Internet using a speedy processor and a speedy cell phone network. It will be like having a really fast WiFi hotspot wherever you can get an LTE cellular data signal. And that's the rub for those of us in rural Iowa. AT&T hasn't even rolled out 3G here, and my original iPad was excruciatingly slow on the old Edge network. My Verizon iPad, at 3G, is much better. But LTE would be the best of all. Obviously, the carriers bring it to major metropolitan areas first. You can read more about the LTE rollout in a report today by CNN.
In addition, the iPhone 5 may also support quad-mode LTE, according to a report on AppleInsider based on hints Friday from analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley. Although they said it's too early to know for sure, the evidence points toward Apple's using a chip that would run on all flavors of 3G and LTE networks. Further evidence that LTE is coming includes a report that Apple has told China Mobile, the world's largest carrier, that an iPhone with LTE will be coming in the future.
Reportedly the main reason Apple has held back on bringing LTE to the iPhone, even though LTE is available in some areas, is that it seriously impacts battery life. The 4G Android phones already on the market haven't exactly been huge successes. Steve Jobs was adamant that the iPhone not have LTE until he was confidant that it would provide a good user experience — which was always paramount in his mind.
So why may LTE be coming to the iPad first? According to the sources in the Bloomberg report, the iPad has a larger battery that can handle the greater power demands of LTE.
In addition to LTE, the AppleInsider/Morgan Stanely rumors are suggesting that the new iPhone 5 will be thinner because it will use new touch panel technology. The report also said that Apple is considering using new materials for the case.
Another interesting bit of news from AppleInsider is a new patent by Apple that shows the company is exploring a motion-based 3D interface for the iPhone. Of course, just because something is patented doesn't mean that it will ultimately show up in a phone, but it does indicate that Apple is always innovating. This new invention would solve the difficulty of navigating a 3D interface via touch or stylus by letting users navigate simply using motion.
All credit to Apple for always forging ahead. And it's clear that consumers like what Apple has to offer. Check out this chart on CNNMoney, in which the red line shows Apple's global share of the computer market when you include the iPad.