While Apple is unlikely to release a 4G iPad until 2012 or even 2013, due to their issues with the power hungriness of current LTE modems chipsets, never underestimate Cupertino’s competitors — or their desperation to beat the iPad — to adopt an underdeveloped new technology before its time.
Meet, then, the HTC Puccini
, a 10-inch LTE tablet set to debut in June. Not much is known about it, although it’s likely to be a Honeycomb tablet and support HTC’s Scribe capacitive stylus.
Otherwise, the most interesting aspect about the Puccini is that it is one of the first devices that will support AT&T’s forthcoming “true 4G” LTE network. That’s interesting not because of the Puccini, but because of what it means for Apple. When AT&T’s LTE network debuts, Apple will finally be able to support the two largest mobile providers in the country in their 4G pursuits using the same chipset.
Ultimately, my guess is that the HTC Puccini gives a hint to Apple’s own future 4G plans, in that it will come to tablets first. I think 4G support will debut on the iPad, and not on the iPhone.
Given existing LTE modem technology, the iPad’s larger battery will be able to better mitigate the inherent power-hungriness of existing chipsets than the iPhone. When that happens is anyone’s guess, but unless AT&T aggressively rolls out their LTE network this year, I’d bet on 2013 over 2012.