Apple's iPad is coming to Verizon store shelves starting next week. When that happens, the largest U.S. carrier will have at least one device that will be able to help it match AT&T's slate of Apple offerings.
Moreover, one can easily guess that Verizon will spend a good amount of marketing dollars trying to prove to customers that its wireless service is better than AT&T's and that it can deliver a viable experience through Apple products.
However, it's highly doubtful that Verizon will be able to offer the average consumer an experience that they would prefer over AT&T. While it might be nice that the carrier is finally carrying something of Apple's, it's doing so by forcing customers to lug around a peripheral to connect to its 3G network. Furthermore the device it's offering isn't as reliable as the device AT&T will sell.
Simply put, AT&T's iPad offering is far more appealing than Verizon's.
1. The 3G is built in
The first reason why AT&T has trumped Verizon with its iPad is simple: The iPhone carrier will be carrying the iPad with built-in 3G. That's extremely important. The iPad is about being mobile and helping consumers be productive from one location to another. Although that's possible with the help of Verizon's MiFi hotspot, it's not the most viable experience. It's much easier to simply access AT&T's 3G network rather than connect to a separate product and access 3G. It's an added step that's unnecessary.
2. AT&T and Apple are still working closely
AT&T and Apple might not have as close of a relationship as they once did, but the companies are still working closely to deliver viable experiences to customers. Apple could be planning to work with Verizon, but it hasn't made any public commitment that shows it will expand that partnership. And until it does, it's probably best for customers to bet on the carrier that does have the solid relationship with Apple.
3. MiFi isn't the best solution
Apple knows how to build products that work very well. And there's a reason why it attempts to limit the infiltration of other products into its own. MiFi is one of those products. And it's possible that it won't offer the Apple-like experience that customers expect. An iPad with built-in 3G will. That alone should make it the more viable option.
4. Productivity is hampered
How productive can a person really be if they need to have two products with them at all times just to get some work done? Verizon might say that productivity wouldn't change, since its accessory still helps folks connect to the Web, but an additional product adds the potential for even more problems. Simplicity means something to companies that are trying to make their employees more productive. And Verizon's solution is making things far more complex than it has to be.