As the introduction of the iPad 3 nears, it's iPad-mania as usual. Many are wondering what the new device will feature and what's next in the Apple line of gadgets. The Wall Street Journal has now answered both of those questions, reporting that the iPad 3 will run on 4G networks and that Apple is currently working on an iPad with a smaller screen.
It has been confirmed that AT&T and Verizon Wireless will both sell a version of the iPad 3 that has 4G capabilities. Both AT&T and Verizon are currently the only two carriers who sell the iPad.
At this point, it's uncertain if other carriers like Sprint Nextel Corp. or T-Mobile USA will also sell the new iPad.
AT&T and Verizon are likely working to boost demand for their ultra-fast LTE networks by offering a new 4G-enabled iPad. Carriers typically prefer that customers use LTE networks because they're 50 percent more efficient than 3G networks, according to Verizon. The latest LTE networks are just capable of handling data traffic more easily than 3G networks.
Verizon's LTE network covers approximately 200 million people while AT&T's LTE network covered 74 million people at the end of 2011. AT&T is working to cover 80 percent of the population in 2013.
The iPad 3 will test both carriers' LTE networks come March, as Apple plans to introduce the new gadget at an event during the first week of next month.
In addition to new iPad 3 features trickling into the news, Apple has some other iPad-related plans up its sleeve. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on creating an iPad with a smaller screen.
The iPad and iPad 2 both rocked a 9.7-inch screen. While the iPad 2 was about 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the original, the screen size remained the same. This was likely because former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said that the 9.7-inch screen was the smallest possible size required to house top-of-the-line apps.
However, other tablet makers have proved otherwise. For instance, Samsung sells its Galaxy Tab in three different screen sizes, including 7 inches, 8.9 inches and 10.1 inches. Also, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet has a 7-inch screen and has become one of the most popular tablets on the market (likely because of the $199 price tag, but the ultra-portable 7-inch feature hasn't generated any criticism either).
With competitors making smaller-screen options for customers, it appears Apple may be working to do the same. The tech giant is currently collaborating with component suppliers in Asia to test an 8-inch iPad.
For now, many reports are saying that the iPad 3 will have the same 9.7-inch screen as the previous two, but an 8-inch version could make an appearance later on. A smaller iPad could potentially make the device a bit more affordable and competitive with the likes of the $199 Kindle Fire, making the purchase of an iPad a more attainable effort.