Apple CEO Tim Cook has been blunt about Cupertino’s plans for adopting LTE: they’d love to, but they’re waiting on next-gen LTE chipsets that aren’t so power-thirsty they’ll turn your iPhone’s battery pack into a desiccated husk within seconds of flipping the 4G radio on.
Well, Qualcomm may have just announced the next-gen LTE chipset that might finally allow Apple to roll out 4G speeds to iDevices in 2012.
The chipset is the Gobi 4000 for 4g LTE and HSPA+ devices, and it’s also backwards compatible with HSPA and EV-DO. The chips are based on Qualcomm’s MDM9600 and MDM 9200 3G/4G wireless partners. Devices coming up that will come with LG’s LTE chipset includes future Lenovo ThinkPads and Dell’s Latitude laptops.
But what about Apple, who has been leaning towards Qualcomm Gobi chips for the last year? While the press release obviously doesn’t mention Apple by name, we’d say it’s very possible that the Gobi 4000 LTE chipset is going to make its way into Apple’s devices next year, starting with the iPad 3.
Why the iPad 3? A few reasons.
One, Apple’s already been seen testing LTE iPads in the wild as recently as August.
Second, even with next-gen chips, LTE is likely to suck up more battery than existing 3G chipsets. As far as sheer battery volume is concerned, the iPad has more of it to spare than the iPhone, making it a great test platform.
Finally, the iPad’s pricing structure already attaches a $130 premium to the price of any 3G iPad. Apple could price 4G iPads with a similar premium.
If you think about it, Apple’s going to have a lot of problem rolling out LTE in the next year. The only network who is really ready for LTE is Verizon, with AT&T and now Sprint now scrambling to catch up. Releasing an iPhone with LTE first guarantees that these still weak networks will be absolutely crushed. But if Apple releases iPads with LTE first and prices the LTE models with a premium, Cupertino can test out LTE’s affects on the networks and their devices’ battery life on a manageable number of tablets… all while raking in money hand-over-first.
What do you think? iPad 3 w/ Wi-Fi + 3G + LTE in 2012? Let us know in the comments.