Verizon has several LTE-enabled tablets for sale nowadays, and AT&T has finally launched their LTE network as well. That means the iPad 3 will have LTE as an option, right?
One of the more important subplots when it comes to LTE is exclusivity. The iPhone was exclusive to AT&T for several years (and models) before coming to Verizon. Will Apple and AT&T pull the same maneuver with the iPad 3? Or is Big Red, now carrying the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad 2, involved in this relationship as well? So far, the rumors point towards a AT&T-friendly LTE iPad 3. The carrier is reportedly prepping LTE-enabled Micro-SIM cards ahead of the launch. This might be for the Nokia Lumia 900, which comes out on AT&T in March, or it could be for both devices.
Circling back to Verizon: we aren’t counting Big Red out just yet. There could be two different iPad 3 LTE variants, similar to how there are two different iPad 2 3G models. Reiterating Apple’s habit of fooling anyone and everyone before a product launch, there is a strong possibility that the Verizon model(s) simply haven’t been leaked yet. The only leaks that point to an AT&T version are SIM card related, and not directly tied to Apple hardware, so it’s all still very up in the air.
Going a different route, BGR recently obtained photos that show a universal iPad 3 of sorts – one with a world-friendly GSM/CDMA/LTE radio that could operate on any and all carriers. That’s a hard pill to swallow, since no other iDevice has that kind of operational capability…but such a trend has to start somewhere, right? It would certainly make manufacturing easier, and, assuming one could hop from Verizon to AT&T and back, it might even spark some competitive data pricing.
Final Prediction: The iPad 3 comes in two different LTE models: one for Verizon, and one for AT&T.
Honorable Mention: Apple simplifies its offerings – and supply chain – and unveils an iPad 3 with a universal GSM/CDMA/LTE radio. The world rejoices, parties like the Second Death Star was just destroyed.