On Oct. 28, more than 2,000 Verizon stores will begin selling Apple's iPad, but labeling the offering a "Verizon iPad" may be a bit misleading, since Apple still has "that pesky exclusive service agreement with AT&T." How do the companies plan to work around it? Here's a brief instant guide:
What's the main catch?
Because of the AT&T exclusivity, users cannot use Verizon's "much-loved" 3G network on the new iPad. Verizon is selling the iPad bundled with Verizon's "MiFi mobile hotspot modem, which turns cellphone signals into Wi-Fi." Getting online, says Fayza A. Elmostehi at CultureMap, will mean either seeking out a WiFi hotspot or "toting yet another device around" to get online — not to mention "making sure both the MiFi and the iPad have enough juice to get a techie through the day." Verizon also imposes more severe charges than AT&T for going over certain data limits.
So why would anyone buy one?
"I suppose this will appeal to those that are sick of AT&T or who routinely use more than 250 MB of data but no more than 1 GB," says Chris Weiss at GadgetCrave. But all in all, the announcement isn't big news unless you're simply "looking for an expensive way to get an iPad while avoiding AT&T at all costs."
Does this, at least, strengthen the Verizon iPhone rumors?
Definitely. The Verizon iPad is "a very good sign for the next partnership" between Apple and Verizon, says M.G. Siegler at TechCrunch, while one analyst opines that "this is a harbinger of a deeper relationship between Verizon and Apple in the relatively near future." Such optimism comes on the heels of multiple reports that Apple will offer a Verizon-compatible iPhone in early 2011.