As the teeming hordes of Apple fanatics wait patiently for next month's release of the iPad 3, one report has just made that wait a little bit harder. The new iPad 3 will run on AT&T and Verizon's 4G network, picking up LTE signals for lightning fast performance, says the Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter."
And what's more, this news bodes very well for the upcoming release of the iPhone refresh -- which many think likely to be an iPhone 5 -- to likewise run on 4G LTE capabilities, so says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. Wu also made several other projections concernin the iPhone and iPad refreshes due out in 2012.
"We are frankly not surprised as this is consistent with our supply chain checks inmid-January," said Wu's report. "As we had commented then, we believe the upcoming iPad refresh could be significant with notable new features including a 4G LTE wireless, beefed upprocessor, higher resolution screen, and Siri voice recognition."
Still, while the release of the iPad will no doubt resound throughout the tech community, whether 4G LTE technology will be the big draw remains to be seen.
LTE technology isn't covered by most of the US and won't be for some time. One report estimates that it may be before the end of 2013 before even 80% of Americans can enjoy LTE-quick performance, and that the new iPad will just revert back to 3G capabilities where LTE is not carried.
Still, Wu believes the new 4G LTE tech will drive sales. "We believe this significant refresh will likely help drive higher iPad sales and help further differentiate from arguably the only real competitor in the market, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and not to mention the myriad of Android offerings out there," said Wu in his report. "We are currently modeling 51million iPad shipments for CY12 and believe this could turn out conservative."
Wu also believes that the iPhone 5 will have 4G LTE tech, and rates Apple (AAPL) as a Buy.
"We view the potential inclusion of 4G LTE for iPad as a positive and a good indicator that the upcoming iPhone 5 refresh in the fall time frame will likely include this key feature as well," said Wu's report. "We continue to believe that AAPL is positioned to outperform in this tough macroeconomic environment with its defendable strategic and structural advantages and its vertical integration."