Verizon will start offering the tablet at more than 2,000 of its retail stores on Oct. 28. The WiFi-only iPad will come with one of three WiFi plus Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot bundles:
- $629.99 for iPad WiFi 16GB + MiFi
- $729.99 for iPad WiFi 32GB + MiFi
- or $829.99 for iPad WiFi 64GB + MiFi
Verizon is also offering iPad customers a monthly access plan of up to 1GB of data for $20 per month. Or they can still purchase the WiFi-only version of the device to save up front.
Today's announcement makes AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s exclusive grip on Apple products less secure, although its customers will also be able to find the iPad in AT&T retail storefronts beginning at the end of the month. The carrier will offer all three iPad WiFi plus 3G models with prepaid data plans at 2,200 of its retail outlets. Apple's expanded retail partnerships are bringing the device to more consumers even if it hasn't yet said if it is working on a CDMA or Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of the tablet. Earlier this week discount retailer Wal-Mart also said it would start selling the device, alongside Best Buy and Target. (See Well, Duh!)
Verizon and Apple working together, a first for the two, suggests that future collaboration isn't off the table, says Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown. It's still a matter of timing, but Apple appears to be using the upcoming holiday season as its test bed.
"It's inevitable that Verizon Wireless and Apple will work more closely together in the future," Brown says. "This is really a toe in the water." — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile