Did you see the new Asus tablet that's coming out? It will have 1900x1200 resolution and a quad core processor, and that was unveiled at CES in January. If Apple wants to stay on top technology-wise, they would be wise to include at least those features. But we all know Apple has a bad habit of stringing the consumer along for as long as they can to milk them for as much money as they can. Apple may very well hold out on LTE but I'll tell you, if they do, people will be very, very angry. People were angry when LTE wasn't available on the iPhone 4S. Now, half a year later if they don't include LTE in the new iPad they would be extremely foolish. Verizon and AT&T have already stated LTE will be included on the upcoming iPad so that is pretty convincing. Apple ordered 40 million displays for the iPad 2, and now they ordered 65 million displays for the iPad 3. Surely they must be confident that they will sell, and a lot of people will be reluctant to purchase if it doesn't have LTE capabilities. A 70% production increase over the previous model iPad is more than just an incremental iPad business strategy.
Also, keep in mind that Verizon and AT&T, and now Sprint, have invested heavily in the LTE infrastructure. Verizon LTE has been going for awhile now, AT&T LTE recently launched, and Sprint LTE is under development due by 2013. They need to start capitalizing on that investment now. Since the iPad is the most popular tablet, Apple would seriously upset these carriers if they failed to deliver a product now that couldn't make use of the carrier's investments. Qualcomm now has a chip which runs on all infrastructures, and Apple charges more anyway for the cellular versions of the iPad. There would be no reason for them to delay the release of an LTE product any longer.
As far as the iPad mini goes, I doubt they will release that now, if at all. But I don't think it's because they want to honor Steve Jobs' wishes. Steve Jobs is dead, and Apple cares about making money. If they can compete with the Kindle Fire, why wouldn't they? But the fact is, they can't compete with the Kindle Fire. To do that they would need a smaller iPad at $299. That would be impossible since they sell an iPod Touch for that price. They can't very well sell an iPad Mini for $299 too! The iPad isn't carrier subsidized like the iPhone is. And if they charged $399, people might as well buy a full-sized iPad 2. An iPad Mini doesn't seem to fit their business model, and that's why it will probably never come to fruition; not because of some misplaced, noble tribute towards the dead visionary. And let's not forget, Amazon only sold 6 million Kindle Fires. That's less than 1/10 of what they project to sell in iPad 3s. It hardly seems worth the effort for them.
Edited by IPodPJ - 3/4/12 at 7:13pm