updated 08:00 pm EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
LTE version OK'd, though LTE not yet available
Apple may bring the latest iPad model to Taiwan as early as May, now that the Wi-Fi and LTE versions of the third-generation product have passed certification by the National Communications Commission, reports Taipei's Economic Daily News. The testing follows mainland China's approval earlier this week of the Wi-Fi version only, and involves both the tablet itself as well as its battery and charger, as well as checking for compliance with local Wi-Fi and cellular bandwidth laws.
Taiwan has already begun trials of LTE higher-speed cellular data but is not expected to make it widely available for some time, meaning buyers of the "4G" LTE iPad will only be able to use 3G data. Even if LTE were more common in Taiwan, the bands used in most countries are not yet exploited by the iPad's LTE radio, leaving only 3G available.
The new iPad uses only the 700MHz and 2100MHz bands for LTE, meaning the "4G" functionality is scarce to non-existent outside North America, a fact that has gotten the company in hot water in Australia and other countries.
Apple opted to go with a Qualcomm LTE chipset due to the fact that standards on LTE frequencies are far from settled outside North America, and using a larger radio that can accept a wider range of frequencies would have involved design and battery compromises the company deemed unacceptable. Apple's choice may in fact influence a move to utilize the 700 and 2100 megahertz frequencies outside the US in some cases, as it may be some time before LTE radios can reach the size and flexibility goals achieved by 3G radios.
The retail price for the iPad in Taiwan and China has not yet been determined. Grey-market iPads have flooded the country to such an extent that prices have actually come down to less than a few hundred dollars above the US retail price. [via Economic Daily News]