iPad Mini and new iPad look headed to EE's 4G network

No official confirmation from the operator yet, but Apple shows EE as a 4G LTE partner for its freshly released iPad and new 7.9-inch iPad Mini tablet - which now have UK prices.
Written by Karen Friar, Contributor

Apple's new iPad Mini 7-inch tablet and fourth-generation iPad, introduced on Tuesday, look likely to plug into EE's 4G network in the UK.

At a launch event in San Jose, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller presented the new iPad and the much-anticipated iPad Mini, which will go up against Google's popular Nexus device. Among their many features, both tablets will have built-in support for LTE networks, Schiller said, but did not specify which spectrum this covers.

Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller named EE as a 4G partner for the new iPads. Image: James Martin/CNET

However, British operator EE appeared in a presentation slide showing carrier partners for the new iPad - a sign that the new Apple tablets will follow the iPhone 5's lead in being able to tap into the T-Mobile and Orange operator's soon-to-launch 1800MHz-based 4G services.

"New features include a FaceTime HD camera, twice the Wi-Fi performance when compared to previous iPad models and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide," Apple said in its launch announcement.

After the launch of its previous tablet, the 'new' iPad, Apple had to field complaints over restricted LTE reach and paid an AUS $2.25m fine for marketing it as 4G, even though it didn't work on Australia's LTE networks. With the recently released iPhone 5, the company broadened its partners out, but still worked with only two 4G carriers in the whole of Europe - one of which was EE.

Perhaps due to the 4G tweaks, the Wi-Fi-only models of the fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini will arrive first. They are set to go on sale on 2 November via Apple's online and high street stores, as well as at retail partners such as Carphone Warehouse. The 4G-capable versions will start shipping a "couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models", Apple said.

Neither EE nor Apple had responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The new iPad Mini is about one-quarter thinner and half as light as the last generation of full-size iPad, according to Apple. It has a multitouch display measuring almost 8 inches, though this is not a Retina display, as some fans had hoped. Built on an A5 chip, it runs iOS 6 and promises 10 hours of battery life.

With Wi-Fi only, the iPad Mini will cost £269 with 16GB of storage, rising to £349 with 32GB and £429 with 64GB. The same tablet with added 4G and other cellular capability is priced at £369, £449 and £529 correspondingly.

The fourth-generation iPad is built on a new chip, the A6X, that Apple says has "twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance" of its A5X predecessor. The tablet, which has a 9.7-inch Retina display, also runs on iOS 6.

The new iPad with Wi-Fi only comes in at £399 (16GB), £479 (32GB) and £559 (64GB). Add in cellular, and the prices are £499, £579 and £659.

Pre-orders for all models open at Apple's online store on Friday for buyers in the UK, the US and 24 other countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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