Apple's latest iPad launch is a big deal for the companies involved. But it's perhaps an equally significant matter for those left out.
While the latest iPad will be coming to Verizon and AT&T, absent from the party are the comparatively uncool Sprint and T-Mobile. Why the snub?
Sprint answers the question without elaboration: “At this time, Sprint is not a carrier for Apple’s iPad products,” says the company.
The reason for this should be pretty obvious, at least for the newest, LTE-equipped iPad. Sprint's 4G LTE network isn't particularly expansive quite yet. Six cities - Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and San Antonio - are all set to get 4G coverage by the middle of the year. That's good, but it's not particularly inspiring.
Contrast that with Verizon's own 4G LTE network, which is available in roughly 195 cities, and AT&T's, which covers twenty three, and it should be clear why Sprint was left out of the deal. Its 4G LTE deployment is just not large enough to justify creating an Sprint-ready iPad.
T-Mobile's omission should be even more obvious, seeing as how, unlike the other three major carriers, it has yet to land its own version of the iPhone. So no surprise there.
And speaking of the iPhone, Apple's smartphone is almost certainly going the 4G LTE route with its next iteration. If Sprint's LTE ambitions don't reach a critical mass by the time the iPhone 5 is announced, is it possible that Apple will nix a Sprint version of that device as well?