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10/14/2010
09:04 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Verizon Inks iPad Deal With Apple

Apple on Thursday announced that it plans to sell its iPad tablet computer through both AT&T and Verizon Wireless retail stores. Verizon Wireless will sell the iPad bundled with a MiFi hotspot creator.

It would appear that Apple and Verizon Wireless can agree to work together after all. Thursday's announcement that Verizon Wireless will offer the Apple iPad at its retail stores is a bit of a surprise, to say the least.

"We're thrilled to be working with Verizon Wireless to get iPad into the hands of even more customers this holiday season," said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. "iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before, and together with Verizon Wireless we’re offering an easy way to stay connected wherever you go."

Verizon Wireless and AT&T stores will begin selling the Apple iPad on October 28. Nothing about the iPad has changed. It still comes in the same six configurations (Wi-Fi only with 16, 32, or 64GB storage; or Wi-Fi+3G with 16, 32, 64GB of storage).

AT&T will sell the iPad Wi-Fi+3G, according to Apple. It will offer the iPad with two wireless plan options, $15 for 250MB and $25 for 2GB. Both plans also offer free access to AT&T's Wi-Fi hotspot network. Prices of the iPad Wi-Fi+3G remain consistent at $630, $730, and $830.

Verizon Wireless, however, will sell the Wi-Fi version -- but it will be packaged with the Novatel MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot device. The cost breakdown at Verizon Wireless stores for the iPad is: $630 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, $730 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and $830 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi. Those prices reflect what the iPad Wi-Fi+3G cost.

But what about the plans? Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers for up to 1GB of data for $20 per month. Is this a deal? That depends on your broadband needs.

Verizon Wireless is also selling the Wi-Fi iPad without a MiFi. That saves you $130 up front, dropping the price of the iPad to $500, $600, and $700, respectively.

If you want, you can pick up the iPad and MiFi separately. The MiFi is available for free to new customers, though it requires a two-year contract at $40 or $60 per month for 250MB or 5GB, respectively.

If you don't use a lot of data, it could be worth paying the extra $130 up-front cost to get the iPad with a MiFi, and then stick with the $20 1GB monthly plan. $20 for 1GB sure beats $40 for 250MB, and the lower plan price will pay for the MiFi in just six months.

The fact that the two companies can come to an agreement on selling at least one product together bodes well for the future.

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