4G LTE, the Best (and Least) Understood Feature of the Next Gen iPad

Bloomberg recently reported that the upcoming third generation of iPad is rumored to run on 4G LTE networks. While this may seem like tech jargon to some, if it is true, it may just be the best feature of the iPad 3.

The 4G network is what its name represents. It is the fourth incarnation of data streaming capabilities based on some techie stuff involving converting binary code to radio signals. LTE, or Long Term Evolution is a set of words that gets thrown around a whole lot without much explanation either. For those that know about LTE, but don’t know why it matters, it is a standard for wireless communication that ups the capabilities of an already-fast network. It acts as additional push for device.

What does this mean for the upcoming iPad 3? Imagine being able to download huge and multiple files from the Internet into your iPad while sitting on a train in only a few minutes. Imagine streaming HD-quality movies on your iPad for the kids when taking them on the long trip to Grandma’s house. Imagine playing World of Warcraft on your iPad in the mountains with no lag time. That is what 4G LTE will do for Apple’s next tablet.

By pairing the faster data speed with the quad-core A6 processor, Apple is basically making the iPad a replacement for mobile game consoles and portable DVD players. Because LTE networks support up to 100 Mbps in downloads and up to 50 Mbps in uploads, it is capable of so much more than what Angry Birds has to offer today. If this rumor is true, it will completely change what people do with their iPad.

Apple’s tablet hit the market as a color e-reader with a web browser (obviously, that is a simplified statement). The App Store was open to the iPad, but no one knew how well gaming would play into it. Now, two-and-a-half years later, it seems like Apple might be planning to re-market the iPad as an all-in-one mobile entertainment device. Why else would the company decide to add 4G capability to the iPad ahead of the iPhone? It is possible that the company sees the iPad as the media gadget to beat all others. The screen of an iPhone is too small to show how clear an HD-quality streaming movie look, or how smooth the gameplay can be when playing a Massively Multiplayer Online game with thousands of other people at once.

It will be interesting to see where the gaming industry plans to go with the iPad 3. If the rumors are true, Blizzard may finally put its hat into the mobile ring. Tens of millions of World of Warcraft fans would sell their grandparents to be able to play the game on an iPad. While there are a lot more technical issues in the game’s design than just faster upload time that keep it from translating to a touch screen tablet, the concept would be possible. Game developers could create large file games with cloud-based storage that iPad users could download and play in no time at all. Even casual game companies like Big Fish Games could benefit from LTE support. That elusive “Play Instantly!” subscription-based app could be accessed smoothly without needing Wi-Fi. And at long last, you won’t need a WiFi connection to download apps over 20MB.

All things considered, a retina display will be nice, a better megapixel back-facing camera will please the masses, but what will really win over fans will be the techie stuff under the hood making the iPad faster and smoother than anyone has ever imagined.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik