Verizon Begins Selling the iPad October 28. Is the Verizon iPhone Next?
Apple and Verizon announced today that beginning Oct. 28, Verizon will begin selling the iPad at more than 2000 company stores. Verizon’s iPad won’t use an internal SIM card (like AT&T) to access the Verizon cellular network. Instead, you’ll be able to bundle the iPad with one of Verizon’s pocket-size, portable MiFi cards, called the MiFi 2200. The MiFi acts as a wireless access point, creating a mobile hotspot allowing up to five Wi-Fi devices to share the connection and the bandwidth. You can use the device wirelessly or you can tether directly to your computer using a USB cable and the VZAccess Manager software for solitary use. In my experience, MiFi battery life is about three hours on a full charge, so your iPad will go much longer than the MiFi between charges.
Perhaps Apple and Verizon can arrange a way for the MiFi to be powered by the USB adapter of the Apple Camera Connection Kit until a SIM version of the Verizon iPad comes along. Though I suspect the MiFi 2200 draws more power than the 30 pin connector on the iPad will allow. Back in June, an enterprising hacker actually combined the two devices in a freakish experiment to power the MiFi.
The MiFi 2200 isn’t a new device. I’ve been using it for almost a year now with our MacBooks and since April with my iPad. In fact, I’m composing this post from our back porch using the MiFi. Though certainly not as speedy as our current DSL broadband, the MiFi offers a satisfactory experience. For several months it was our only connection at home to the Internet. While I don’t recommend it for streaming video, I can tell you that my wife and I were able to use it watch a few TV shows on Hulu on my MacBook. Quality was acceptable, but of course streaming consumes data. I’m on the 5GB per month plan at $60/month, and even when using it as our only Internet source at home, we never exceeded the 5GB cap, though we did come close once. You can monitor usage through the VZAccess Manager software or through your account on Verizon’s website. It appears the MiFi device will cost $130 if you get it bundled at the Verizon store. You can find a better price online (read free) with a new Verizon Wireless plan. Here’s one example and here’s another one. Getting the bundle at the Verizon store will be more costly but more convenient.
Rumors have the iPhone at Verizon early next year, but we’ve heard this before. Is the iPad a herald for the Verizon iPhone? We’ll see. Meanwhile, you’ll soon have a second choice for a single store to bundle mobile broadband and the iPad.