The iPad 3: Quad-Core Chips And LTE Networking Expected In March

A look at the white iPad 2.

So apparently there’s going to be an iPad 3. Who knew? I had figured they would quit while they were ahead. Apple’s new iPad will have a beefier chip and the capability to connect to fast wireless networks when it arrives in March, according to a report.

In truth, Bloomberg’s report Friday confirms much of what we already expected for the iPad 3. It’s going to have a higher resolution screen and launch at an event some time in March. But there were a couple of interesting nuggets, such as the new chip and the addition of an LTE connection.

First, the quad-core chip should be quite snappy for things like games and the report suggests that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) believes it also will improve iOS multitasking. These kinds of advances also allow the sophistication of mobile software to grow in ways we can’t quite yet predict until talented programmers start to figure out what they can do with the extra horsepower.

The LTE capability is interesting for a few reasons. One, Apple has hinted pretty strongly that it hasn’t made an LTE iPhone because it doesn’t believe it can meet its standards for battery life if it includes power-hungry LTE chips in its designs. But it’s much easier to cram a bigger battery into a device with a 9.7-inch screen as opposed to a device with a 3.5-inch screen.

Two, although official stats are hard to find there’s a sense that an awful lot of people opt for the Wi-Fi-only version when it comes to tablets: one of the (many) reasons Motorola’s Xoom failed to draw attention was because of the lack of a Wi-Fi-only model. LTE, which can be faster than some people’s home Internet connections, might change that equation, leading to an increase in iPad sales through carriers.

In any event, the quiet CES that Android tablet makers put on means that unless a lot is in store for February’s Mobile World Congress, Apple will head into the summer with the best tablet on the market. Again.

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