LTE iPad

Tim Culpan, Peter Burrows, and Adam Satariano, Bloomberg:

Apple is bringing LTE to the iPad before the iPhone because the tablet has a bigger battery and can better support the power requirements of the newer technology, said one of the people.

That makes sense that the bigger iPad will get LTE before the iPhone. A bigger chassis means a bigger battery. Whether wrong or right, the expectation is for the LTE iPad to last just as long as the 3G iPad. The iPad 2 lasts up to nine hours surfing the web using 3G. Nine hours isn’t quite all-day computing; we’d like to get an hour or two more, but less wouldn’t be good. But wouldn’t a bigger battery mean a heavier iPad? I’m not a battery expert, but from what little I know battery technology advances relatively slowly. Maybe the batteries in the LTE iPad will be lighter, last longer, so more of them will offset the power requirements of the power hungry LTE chipset and still make it last just as long without a weight penalty. Another crazy assumption: The LTE iPad will be thinner.

A couple of other components that might require more battery power are the rumored 2048×1536 Retina Display and the quad-core A6. I have my doubts about a quad-core A6. The dual-core A5 in the iPad 2 is clocked at 1GHz. I would assume there is some headroom there. If I were to guess, and I’m just pulling something out of thin air, the LTE iPad will continue to sport a dual-core A5, but clocked faster.

As for the Retina Display, I wouldn’t bet that it consumes significantly more power. Advancements in thin film transistor technology will likely improve light transmittance. With smaller TFTs less light gets blocked. But even with say a 20% improvement, we’re talking about four times the number of TFTs. Electron mobility needs to be improved so a touch here and a touch there instantly translates into liquid crystal responses. But there needs to be more. The LEDs in the backlight will need to be more power efficient. The optical film stack more effective in pushing light forward. The color filter where roughly 70% of light is absorbed needs to be more efficient at both letting light through and making colors more brilliant. Liquid crystals need to be better aligned so there is less light leakage, resulting in deeper blacks. Whether it’s Sharp, LG Display, or Samsung the Retina Display in the LTE iPad will probably be quite energy efficient. And all of this needs to be in a LCD that is just as thin if not thinner than what is in the iPad 2. Crazy.

There are reports coming out of Japan that say Sharp’s IGZO-based 2048×1536 9.7-inch LCDs are being used in the next iPad. And there are reports out of Korea that say the opposite with LG Display and Samsung being the primary display suppliers. It shouldn’t matter much who makes the display as long as it works perfectly in the LTE iPad.

At the end nobody but Apple knows whether or not the next iPad will sport LTE and all this other cool stuff. But it sure is getting me excited just writing about it.

Update: Spencer E. Ante and Jessica E. Vascellaro, The Wall Street Journal:

Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks, according to people familiar with the matter, as the battle to cash in on big investments in mobile broadband heats up.