IN A BLATANT ATTEMPT to grab headlines and make heads turn at the use of an I-word, Clearwire has blurted out that it will be providing 4G service for the Ipad.
Great news, but the Ipad has no 4G module option - well, at least not yet.
The first thing that comes to mind is that somewhere on Apple's secret roadmap there's a follow-on Ipad 4G model that will knock the socks off all current 3G devices, and that the launch of said device is closer than you'd think. Possibly true, but that's not what Clearwire is advertising.
In fact Clearwire, the company that relies almost entirely on Intel's Wimax technology, has come up with a small battery-powered device that will spread the goodness of 4G by bridging it with a WiFi connection. The device is called a Clear Spot and anyone within range of the WiFi connection will enjoy the unbelievably high speed of "3Mbps to 4Mbps", shared between up to eight simultaneous users. The device will also cost Clearwire's customers $139 to buy, on top of monthly 4G service fees.
Of course, the Ipad has WiFi and the fact that it launches tomorrow has prompted Clearwire to advertise the match-up.
Clearwire's attempt does touch base with something that many a hack has fingered, that is, the low storage capacity on Apple's Idevice, which forces users to rely on WiFi and 3G connections for streaming data to the Ithingie. As data streaming to your Ipad may prove too unwieldy for the 3G connection, and WiFi too restrictive to justify buying one, Clearwire's solution aims to resolve both of these problems, in a workaround kind of way.
So it's not an Ipad 4G, and our disappointment is great. Apple has just such an ignoble tradition of shortchanging its customers by following up its launches with better versions of the same kit.
As the big launch day draws closer, queuing has started at stores and fisticuffs might or might not break out due to the likely insufficient number of Ipads available. Girlfriends will be sorely neglected. Plastic will be swiped. Flash will be broken. µ