New iPad likely to land in PH in May, 4G-LTE support still unsure

MANILA, Philippines – The third generation of Apple’s tablets will likely be coming to the Philippines in May, following reports that the country wasn’t included in the next rollouts of the new iPad in the next few weeks.

In an announcement, Apple said it would be shipping the new iPad to South Korea and 11 other countries on Friday, April 20. Other territories getting the new tablet by that time include Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, St Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela.

A week after that, the technology company said it would be bringing its latest tablet to Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa and Thailand. This brings the total number of countries with the new iPad by end-April to 56, one of the fastest rollout periods of Apple to date, according to reports.

The Philippines was conspicuously absent from the list, even as neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia have been included in this month’s shipping rounds, suggesting that eager Apple enthusiasts would have to wait until next month to get their hands on the new iPad in local stores.

Authorized Apple resellers contacted by, however, refused to comment about the possible availability of the new iPad by May.

Singapore and Hong Kong were among the early receivers of the new iPad in March. Last year, the iPad 2 shipped to the Philippines around end-April.

Will the new iPad’s LTE work in PH?

Along with Apple’s new shipment schedule announcement, the company also clarified that 4G-LTE use is not supported in the new rollout territories.

“4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada,” it stressed.

It will be remembered that Apple is now facing time in court in Australia for reportedly misleading consumers with the “iPad with WiFi + 4G” promotion, despite the established fact that the new iPad’s LTE connectivity doesn’t work with LTE networks in Australia.

It remains to be seen, though, if the case would be the same in the Philippines, since the only telecom firm with an immediate plan to roll out 4G-LTE in the country–Smart Communications–has yet to commercially launch its LTE service.

Earlier, though, Smart claimed that the new iPad would work on its network as its LTE spectrum is the same as that of telecom networks in the US (at 2100 MHz).

Still, the timetable for Smart’s commercial launch of its LTE service is pegged at the latter half of the year, which could mean that those buying the new iPad with 4G-LTE connectivity would have to make do with HSPA+ data signals for the time being.

Launched in March, the new iPad tablet features a high-definition Retina Display, an A5X chip that provides quad-core graphics, and 4G-LTE wireless data connectivity, among other specifications.

It would retail for $499 for the base 16GB WiFi-only model, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB, and would come in both white and black variants.

The ones fitted with the 4G-LTE capability would cost $629, $729 and $829 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively.