Apple is reportedly adding 4G LTE to its iPhone 5 and iPad 3, as the company looks to level the playing field with Android devices.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s CEO, Tim Cook, met with executives at NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese wireless carrier, to talk about when the devices will be available, according to Nikkei Business. The iPad 3 will reportedly hit the carrier in the summer, with the iPhone 5 following it in the fall.
Apple continued its tablets’ early spring release schedule in the U.S. with the iPad 2 this year, and Japan got the device six weeks later. The current reports about the release of the iPad 3 would follow this same model, and analysts believe the iPhone 5 would come next fall, following the shifted release of the iPhone 4S from June to October.
Many consumers were disappointed by the lack of LTE support in the 4S when it launched earlier this year, after several Android devices capable of the 4G speeds had already been released.
Some customers may be upset they can’t purchase an LTE-capable Apple device, but it’s hard to argue the company has made a mistake. The iPhone 4S is selling at a higher rate than any of its predecessors, and the iPad has continued to power Apple to the top of the list in tablet market share.
Meanwhile, early LTE smartphones have proven to have poor battery life, a bulky design, or both. Apple likely bypassed LTE with its fifth-generation iPhone, choosing instead to put a premium on a slick design and strong battery performance, which has paid off in sales.
Waiting for next year to add LTE capabilities to its devices makes sense for the company. The evolving technology will make it easier and cheaper for the company to incorporate LTE chips in their devices without compromising its designs or the efficiency of its batteries. In addition, Verizon’s LTE network will be serving even more of the country, and AT&T will be at the height of its LTE rollout.
Next year may be the perfect time for Apple to add LTE capabilities to its iPhone and iPad devices, but if it doesn’t, the company will run the risk of truly falling behind the pack.