After yesterday’s big, if expected, announcement that Verizon Wireless will start offering Apple’s iPhone, competing with AT&T, it is also confirmed that Verizon is going to offer a version of the iPad which connects directly to its network.
The current Verizon iPad (sold at Verizon since last October) requires a MiFi Mobile Hotspot, an additional device used to connect the device to Verizon’s network. According to the Bloomberg report, Verizon will get an embedded CDMA chip to get on Verizon’s network, making the MiFi device obsolete in future Verizon iPads. Verizon Communications CFO Francis Shammo declined to say when the iPad will be available.
There’s no surprise to the new offering (we reported on similar news weeks ago), considering the alliance between Apple and Verizon, but it is something that will factor into Verizon’s rivalry with AT&T. It will be interesting to see whether Verizon will start selling the current version of iPad, or will it — which seems more likely — skip the first iteration, opting instead for the iPad 2 which Apple will surely introduce in a matter of weeks. However, since the Verizon iPhone is essentially the same phone AT&T has to offer, it doesn’t seem likely that the Verizon iPad will be a significantly different product than an AT&T iPad.
In any case, the big winner will be Apple, which is estimated to have sold 14.5 million iPads last year and could end up selling more than 37 million iPads in 2011.
[Photo credit: ZDnet]