iPad 3 with Superfast 4G May Mean Pricier Tablets
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
February 16 2012 03:34 PM ET
The next iPad could be the first Apple product to run on faster 4G cellular networks. In the past, people have bought 3G-capable iPads for backup in case Wi-Fi wasn't available. But if the 4G rumors are true, pricier iPads could become the norm.
News of a possible 4G iPad available through Verizon and AT&T was released by the Wall Street Journal this week.
Without an Internet connection, an iPad is pretty much useless. Peter Misek, a technology analyst from New York investment firm Jefferies & Company, said two-thirds of iPads sold are the more expensive 3G-equipped units as opposed to Wi-Fi only models.
"Most people aren't using the 3G feature, but buy it as a 'security blanket' in case they ever need to jump on the Web but don't have Wi-Fi," Misek wrote in his note to investors last June. Currently, a 3G-capable iPad 2 costs $130 more than the Wi-Fi only unit.
Faster is always better in the world of tech gadgets. While speed depends on many factors, 4G can be faster than most public Wi-Fi networks and some home connections. Because video streaming and game-playing often benefit from faster connections, 4G's perceived speed advantage could move a cellular-connected iPad from nice-to-have to really-want-to-have.
But 4G data will cost extra. Unlike smartphones that usually require two-year data contracts, Verizon and AT&T offer monthly plans for iPads. You can buy data in a pinch, but if you don't cancel at the end of the 30-day period, you'll be billed every month until you do.
Already, potential iPad 3 buyers have been salivating over rumored features, such as higher resolution displays and Siri, the voice-controlled virtual personal assistant that debuted on the iPhone 4S.