Is Any Wireless Network Ready for Apple’s Tablet?

Apple has remained typically mum on any details regarding the launch of its new tablet computer at an event next week. Heck, we don’t even know for sure that it is the tablet, rumored to be called the “iSlate.” Some have speculated that the announcement is regarding a new version of the iPhone for the Verizon Wireless network. Others think it will be both announcements wrapped into one.

Either way, based on some rough experiences customers have had with the iPhone on AT&T’s network – including dropped calls and very slow data transfers – many are wondering if AT&T or any network could handle Apple’s tablet, which would have a screen size of nearly three times that of an iPhone. Would any network potentially “grind to a halt”? as Broadpoint Amtech analyst Brian Marshall wonders aloud to the Wall Street Journal.

One of the many details not mentioned by Apple is to which network the tablet would be tied – if it exists at all, remember. Clearly, AT&T still has to prove itself with the iPhone. Verizon’s CTO last month said that his network was ready for the huge increase in data traffic that the iPhone would bring, but do we take him at his word? Getting ready for an Apple tablet might be something different entirely.

Fortunately, the tablet will reportedly operate on Wi-Fi, which, where available, is much faster than regular old cellular networks, so that could help. It might work best at Wi-Fi hotspots, where AT&T could redirect traffic. Apple might limit how much video and other large files can be downloaded. Also, due to its size and price – compared to the iPhone – you won’t see everyone and their dog holding one.

The much-anticipated “tablet, iPhone or neither” announcement happens Jan. 27.

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