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New iPad Set to Make 4G the Norm

Buyers of the latest version of the Apple tablet might not be the only ones in line for a technology upgrade. The iPad 3 is set to be unveiled on March 7 and if rumors of the expected improvements in the device are true, carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless will need to up their LTE game.

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According to a Reuters report on Tuesday, the new iPad will be equipped to run on 4G LTE wireless technology, which is almost 10 times faster than the now-prevalent 3G service. The platform, currently offered only by the country’s two largest wireless carriers, has been available on mobile phones, but the quality remains spotty. Verizon and AT&T have been in a race to up the stakes in the evolution and more widespread availability of LTE, which they hope will bring them higher revenues by attracting subscribers toward plan upgrades and higher consumption.

Combined with a new high-resolution retinal display, another of the many expected improvements in the next generation iPad, 4G network speeds could steer the tablet toward users looking to watch more video on the go. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, faster speeds could lead to a generational change in the usage of tablets for video watching, with the higher network speeds allowing for entire movies to be streamed, instead of short video clips.

Network carriers are also keen on moving users on to LTE sooner because of its more efficient data traffic handling capabilities, the same WSJ report states.

Apple sold more than 15 million tablets in the quarter ending December 31, though the cheaper Wi-Fi-only model remains the biggest seller. The Reuters report quotes Macquarie analyst Kevin Smithen as saying that even if only 10 percent more iPad users bought the 4G instead of the Wi-Fi version, network carriers would be set to gain substantially in terms of revenue.

The San Francisco launch will be led by Chief Executive Tim Cook, who also unveiled the iPhone 4S last year.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Aabha Rathee at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com