Verizon iPad: What's next for Verizon and Apple?

Verizon iPad breaks the AT&T stranglehold, sort of. The new deal between Apple and Verizon is something of a hack, but it's an official hack.

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    Customers handle the Apple iPad at a book fair in Germany this month. The Verizon iPad will launch on Oct. 28.
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Verizon iPad! Well, it sure beats the endless Möbius strip of Verizon iPhone rumors.

And this Verizon gossip has the distinct advantage of being, you know, true. Earlier today, Verizon announced that it would soon begin to sell Apple iPad tablet computers at more than 2,000 Verizon outlets around the country. Crucially, the Verizon iPad won't run on Verizon's 3G network. Instead, iPads sold by Verizon will be bundled with Verizon's MiFi mobile hotspot modem, which turns cellphone signals into Wi-Fi. Since these MiFis have been around for some time now, you could have owned a "Verizon iPad" all along. The carrier is simply making it that much easier by selling the two devices together.

Price-points vary: $629.99 will get you a 16GB iPad with MiFi, while $729.99 will get you a 32GB iPad with MiFi. Verizon will charge $829.99 for a 64GB model with MiFi; monthly access plans will start at $20 per month for up to 1GB of data. "In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis," Verizon reps wrote in a statement. The launch date for the Verizon iPad is Friday, Oct. 28.

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The Verizon iPad announcement comes at a propitious time for the tablet market, which is getting more crowded than a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. Among the tablets scheduled to hit shelves in coming months are the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a tablet powered by the Android OS. Samsung says the Galaxy Tab will launch with a 7-inch display, front- and rear-facing cameras, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and Flash 10.1 support.

The Galaxy Tab will be sold by four wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Meanwhile, rumors continue to percolate that HTC – the manufacturer of a range of popular smartphones, including the EVO 4G – is making a tablet computer for Google. According to an August report from the blog the Download Squad, the Google tablet would run Chrome OS, Google's forthcoming open-source operating system.

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