Apple took to the stage today to announce the company's latest version of the iPad, the iPad HD. As rumors had suggested, this latest incarnation will dramatically beef up the device's wireless broadband capabilities, supporting LTE, HSPA+, HSDPA, and Wi-Fi. Apple's also added personal hotspot functionality to the device -- assuming your carrier supports it.
Theoretically, the device's 4G LTE connectivity provides speeds up to 21Mbps on HSPA+ networks, 42Mbps while on DC-HSDPA networks, and up to 73Mbps on LTE. Depending on your carrier and local congestion, you'll see speeds somewhere around a half or a quarter that fast. Apple will need to make different versions to support both AT&T and Verizon's LTE networks, Verizon using largely the 746-787MHz range while AT&T's network uses the 704-746MHz range.
While the news of an LTE iPad sounds like good news for Verizon and AT&T, tablets sold by carriers haven't sold particularly well
, as many people prefer the Wi-Fi only version thanks in part to massive $10 per gigabyte overage penalties.
Apple has held off on an LTE iPhone due to battery concerns, but notes that this new iPad still comes with a respectable 9 hour battery life if you choose the LTE chipset. As another slight concession, the new version is slightly thicker and heavier at 9.4mm thick and 1.5 pounds. Some additional new features include a new 2048x1526 pixel Retina Display as well as a new five megapixel camera capable of HD video recording in 1080p resolution.
The iPad HD costs $500, $600, and $700 for 16, 32, and 64GB versions respectively. If you want to add world radio functionality and enjoy massive data overages while using iCloud, you'll have to pay $630, $730, and $830 for the same storage sizes. Pre-orders start today, and Apple claims the device will ship March 16th.