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iPad 3: Should It Support LTE?

Tom Kaneshige | Feb. 16, 2012
Faster wireless data networks can help usher in a new class of big, beautiful, always-on hosted iPad apps that will need serious bandwidth speed.

OnLive plays in the big leagues of tech sophistication: gaming. Let's face it, techies love games. They play with a critical eye, noticing poorly overlapping 3D images and getting frustrated over tiny lag times. As a result, OnLive has had to push the proverbial envelope to satisfy these savvy customers. The company has found a way to silence extraneous networking chatter that slows down data transfer speeds.

The result? Autodesk Maya on the iPad.

"I really hope the iPad 3 will support LTE," says OnLive CEO Steve Perlman.

However, LTE does have its own problems. The two biggies are immature chip sets that drain battery life and the fact that the network isn't widely available. That's why Apple didn't build LTE support into the iPhone 4S.

But the iPad isn't the iPhone.

For starters, the iPad has a bigger battery and thus is better positioned to handle power-inefficient chip sets. The chip vendors are also working hard to bring down the power consumption. Also, limited LTE network availability probably won't stymie iPad 3 sales. The majority of iPads sold to date are Wifi-only. For these consumers, wireless data network speed doesn't matter.

But it'll matter soon enough. If big, beautiful hosted apps come to the iPad, consumers will want to be able to access them all the time-and they'll need LTE. At some point, the Wifi-only iPad will become a distant memory.

If you're still not convinced, recall Apple's parallel universe: As more iOS apps needed a truly mobile connection, the Wifi-only iPod Touch became a brick compared to the always-connected iPhone.


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