An official press release from Apple (s aapl) reveals that a new partnership between it and Verizon Wireless (s vzn) will see the iPad make its way to the wireless provider’s store shelves on Oct. 28. In a separate press release, Apple also said the iPad will be available at AT&T (s att) stores on the same day.
The big news here is obviously Verizon. The iPad hasn’t been available on any network other than AT&T’s in the U.S. up till now. And a deal with Verizon means that Apple has indeed been working to get its products on the company’s network. It’s almost like Apple is winking at us conspiratorially with the timing of this announcement, considering all the recent rumors about a possible Verizon iPhone 4.
Even if this isn’t an indicator of the imminent end of the iPhone’s exclusivity, having the iPad available on the Verizon network is great news for Apple. It expands the reach of the incredibly successful device further still, and helps explain some of the company’s more ambitious estimates about iPad sales in the coming year.
Verizon will offer three special bundles along with the basic Wi-Fi models, since the 3G-capable iPad uses GSM, not CDMA. The bundles will retail for the same prices as the Wi-Fi + 3G iPads ($629, $729, and $829 for the 16, 32 and 64GB models respectively) but will also include a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. You can also get each model on its own if you prefer, but you obviously won’t be able to use Verizon’s data. Only one data plan option is mentioned, and that’s 1GB of data for $20 a month.
AT&T is selling the three Wi-Fi + 3G models for their suggested retail prices, and any iPad using the AT&T network gets free, unlimited access to the provider’s 23,000+ U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots. AT&T’s plans for iPad data are $14.99 a month for 250MB, and $25 a month for 2GB.
Apple hasn’t lifted its restrictions about contracts, so neither provider will be able to offer bundles that could defray the cost if users sign up for a longer commitment. Still, it’s nice to see that in addition to network choice, we also get some different pricing options with the addition of Verizon as a provider.
CORRECTION: The article originally stated that Verizon would be offering Wi-Fi + 3G models, not Wi-Fi-only iPads.
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