News Analysis: Verizon stores will begin selling the iPad in October initially bundled with Verizon's MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot and an attractively priced data plan.
The announcement by Apple and Verizon Wireless that
Verizon Wireless stores will begin selling the iPad on Oct. 28 is the first
overt step by the wireless company into the Apple camp, but it's certain not to
be the last.
In a joint announcement, both companies said that Verizon
Wireless stores will begin selling a bundle consisting of the Apple iPad and
the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot. The price for this bundle is
approximately $130 more than the iPad by itself. It's delivered with a
contract-free data plan, which starts at $20 per month for 1
The normal price for a 1GB plan from Verizon Wireless is
$50 for a month of data prepaid. There is no 1GB postpaid contract shown on
Verizon Wireless' rate page. However, there is a 250MB monthly plan for $39.99,
or about twice the special iPad data plan price. The retail purchase price of
the MiFi is normally $269.99 without a contract.
So the Verizon Wireless iPad bundle is a great deal
initially, and users who plan to keep the service for a few months will
ultimately save even more money. Plus, they'll have the benefit of a 3G service
with broader reach and better reliability than they get with the 3G iPad that
uses the heavily challenged AT&T network.
I'm told that Verizon Wireless will offer a distinctive
protective sleeve for the iPad, although it's not clear whether that's included
with the bundle. Verizon Wireless will also offer stand-alone WiFi iPads
without the bundle. At this point, there is no mention of a 3G (or 4G) iPad
using Verizon's service. All that's being offered are WiFi iPads and the MiFi
wireless 3G hot spot.
As you might imagine, nothing in the Verizon Wireless
press release mentions a possible future iPad using the Verizon network. But it's
easy to see that it's not rocket science to engineer a 3G or 4G radio to take
the place of the existing AT&T 3G radio. But while it's not necessarily
difficult to do this, getting a spot in the red-hot iPad production cycle may
take a lot more doing. Right now iPads are selling like free beer at the World
Series. One has to wonder how Apple can make enough to supply the 2,000 or so
Verizon Wireless stores.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.