Yesterday morning, my friend and colleague Oliver Haslam laid out an interesting case for why he believes, despite overwhelming evidence, that Apple won’t implement LTE technology into any of its mobile products this year.

Oliver thinks that because there aren’t 4G networks in every corner of the world, and because current LTE devices suffer from issues like poor battery life, we won’t be seeing LTE in the next iPad or iPhone. But I happen to think he’s wrong…


Before we get into addressing Oliver’s points, let’s just take a look at some of the evidence we’ve seen over the last 6 months that suggests that LTE-flavored Apple products are on the way. For starters, there were multiple reports last year that Apple Stores were having LTE equipment installed. There were also LTE actions uncovered in carrier builds of iOS, and an Apple job listing was spotted calling for a field test engineer with an expertise in the 4G technology.

Fast forward to this year, and the LTE gossip has only gotten stronger. In January, Bloomberg reported that it had confirmed that Apple’s next iPad would “work with next-generation wireless networks.” I mean, this is Bloomberg we’re talking about here, not DigiTimes or another hit and miss rumor site. But ok, you want a more credible source? How about The Wall Street Journal? Earlier this week, the WSJ — a publication that many believe to be in bed with Apple PR — reported that it had learned that at least two carriers, Verizon and AT&T, would be receiving LTE-capable iPads this year.

Moving on.

LTE Availability

In the section of his post titled ‘LTE isn’t ready’, Oliver points out that LTE networks are currently few and far between. So why would Apple waste its time and money on implementing a technology that isn’t widely available? First off, LTE is probably more widespread than you think. Here in the US, over 2/3 of Verizon’s network is covered by LTE. And AT&T plans to have its 4G network finished by 2013. Outside of the States, over 30 countries have active LTE networks, including Canada, Portugal, and Germany. And dozens more have carriers in the trial stage on the verge of public rollouts. Imagine what these numbers will look like by the end of the year.

So wouldn’t Apple have to make multiple iPad models then — one for LTE and one for 3G? And wouldn’t that substantially increase the company’s manufacturing costs? Well the truth is, Apple will more than likely introduce a single tablet that works with both 3G and 4G networks. Don’t have LTE in your area yet? Cool, you can still surf the web wirelessly on your 3G network. This is essentially what Apple did with the iPhone 4S and HSPA+ — the semi-4G technology that’s only available on some GSM carriers — so it’s completely feasible to think that we could see this with the iPad 3 and LTE.

Battery Life

In his final argument for why Apple will stay away from LTE this year, Mr. Haslam states that current LTE devices are notorious for having poor battery life. But this is 2012. The first LTE-capable smartphone launched nearly a year ago, and since then Android manufacturers have released dozens of handsets featuring the 4G technology. Has Apple really been sitting on its hands over the last 12 months?

No. Apple has been working with LTE technology for the past year (if not longer), perfecting it. And what better device for the company to make its LTE debut with than the iPad? This way if it needed a larger battery to compensate for the extra power usage, it would have about 10-inches of space to work with. Besides, ten hour battery life is non-negotiable for Apple when it comes to the iPad. It’s one of the many things that sets the tablet apart from the competition.

In Conclusion

Yes, I believe the iPad 3 will feature LTE technology. And just as it has done with its processors (A4, A5), I think that Apple will take what it has learned about LTE with the iPad and apply it to the next iPhone. There’s just too much evidence to ignore, including assertive reports from both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, for me to think otherwise. Besides, do you really think that Apple is going to wait until 2013 to start implementing LTE technology into its devices? That would put it more than two years behind the competition. That certainly doesn’t sound like a company that is looking to “skate where the puck is going to be, not where the puck has been.”

  • Civil war in iDB world. Oliver and Cody should just fight it out at lunch.

    • Anonymous

      A virtual lunch I take it being that they are from different continents lol

    • Anonymous

      The should just use FaceTime….

      *Bum dum tiss*

      *Cricket Chirping*


  • Good article and i especially like your wayne gretzy quote at the end 😀

  • Anonymous

    Apple can’t get the battery life right on a phone without LTE so I won’t hold my breath … Also, I really don’t care for LTE and i’m personally not going to sacrifice on the aesthetics of the device I choose, simply to house a bigger battery to cater for LTE capapbilities.

    • Eric Morgan

      HTC said it was a mistake. Not google.

      • Anonymous

        You knew what I meant lol

    • Anonymous

      Even with Apple “not getting the battery right”, it still has a better battery than almost every other phone out there. However, if the iPhone/iPad does get 4G, I doubt that little advantage will hold.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it will have LTE. Either way I believe the wifi models are more popular so it won’t even effect a majority of buyers

  • Anonymous

    Cody is probably right that it will have LTE but Oliver had the better arguments and reasoning in his article.

    I think even though it’s not ready for prime time that Apple wants to have the LTE label on the box just so people aren’t complaining that other tablets have 2 generations of LTE devices and Apple is still using 3G. People were expecting a lot more from the 4S so Apple knows they have to push this year’s devices forward. Sometimes even though you know better, you just have to give the people what they want.

  • I agree with oliver. And in some countries even the 3g is still shitty, let alone 4g. And I don’t get the need for 4g speeds either. 3g has always been fast enough for streaming videos and what not.

    It’s not really Apple’s mo to role out features that have little support. Unless they call it a beta ofcours (siri).

  • You don’t convince me!

  • Anonymous

    yesterday i wrote the same in my comment and some people attacked me like i dun know what…

  • Anonymous

    Oliver says this and Cody says that. Typical.

  • 2/3 of their network might be true. If you keep in mind that their network has huge gaping holes with no service in it, suddenly that’s no longer 66% of the united states with LTE. Also, AT&T’s “plans” mean nothing, they could end up delayed and not have it done until 2014, and that’s only on their existing network which also sports huge no service areas.

  • If the new iphone comes out the same thing im changing to samsung.

    • You mean downgrading to Samsung

      • Anonymous

        Put it whichever way you want, he’s changing to Samsung. If the new iPhone doesn’t have 4G.

        And I don’t see how it’s a “downgrade”; Samsung devices always have better-than-or-equal-to hardware than iPhones do (for their respective generations of course). The difference in quality comes from software; hardly a downgrade, if you’re asking me.

      • I wasn’t asking you!

      • Anonymous

        @Marc That doesn’t make me any less right does it?

  • Ha

  • Eric Morgan

    Everything I said in the comments section of his article. Is he a kid or something. His thinking is so short sided. And his ridiculous argument that 4g isn’t everywhere yet. Thank you for writing this.

    • Anonymous

      What does his age have to do with anything, if you’re going to insult somebody you should at least make it justified .. as for 4G it isn’t everywhere, far from it, i’m guessing it’s near you and must be worldwide, now that’s “short sided”.

    • Anonymous

      Everywhere I’ve been, even the (multiple) states I’ve lived in the US, don’t have LTE. And don’t get me started on OUTSIDE the US. They barely have 3G coverage out here (exaggerating, but only slightly).

      The main issue isn’t coverage; it’s battery life and price. Apple has to pay for the relatively expensive 4G antenna (relative to the 3G antenna); then it either:
      Leaves the battery the same size. This reduces costs but leads to a massive decline (think 2-3 hours) in battery life.
      Raises the battery size. This will further decrease the profit margins Apple make and may even lead to a thicker iPad. Good luck with that.

      The final option, which isn’t related to battery life, is they raise the price of the 4G model by $100. However, that option will put the iPad in mid-range laptop status; heck, you can buy an unlocked 4S at that price.

      I find it incredibly ironic you’re accusing Oliver of being short-sighted when you can barely look past, “I want to pay more for faster internet.” It’s not that simple, especially when most of Apple’s market (as in, not the US) doesn’t have LTE.

  • Anonymous

    Cody – 1
    Oliver – 0

  • It’s sad that now that 4G speeds will be more available carriers are not offering unlimited data plans. That alone just makes me not even care about 4G.

  • Cody 1, Oliver 1. 😉 The argument rests on *timing* — both parties argue it’s coming, just a difference in opinion about *when*…

    I just hope that
    1. a jailbreak is readily forthcoming
    2. SBSettings gets a nice 4G toggle to turn it on/off quick! 3G is plenty fast for me, but I can’t even last a day with 3G on all the time on my iPhone4

  • It will be the iPad 2s