While this isn’t the launch of a 3G device on Big Red’s network, this is a pretty big shift for Apple. Starting on October 28, Verizon Wireless stores will carry not only WiFi-only models, but also Wi-Fi models bundled with a MiFi, the company’s 3G mobile hotspot device. The MiFi plan is $20/month for 1GB of data, and doesn’t even involve any hacking.
AT&T will also be offering the iPad in its stores starting October 28, of course with native 3G support.
AT&T 3G plans for the iPad include one plan at $15/month for 250MB of data and one at $25/month for 2GB. AT&T’s larger plan is a better deal than Verizon’s, but the Mi-Fi can be used to connect several devices — not just an iPad.
Of course, there is a gigantic elephant in the room here. With “Verizon iPhone” on the edge of everybody’s tongue, this new partnership is sure to only add fuel to the rumor-mill fire. Is this deal leading into the iPhone 4 — or even iPhone 5 / iPad 2 — leaving the embrace of AT&T for a new lover? Time will tell, but this is hard evidence to ignore.