Apple announced today that Verizon Wireless and AT&T will both will begin selling 3G iPads in their stores on October 28. In an interesting twist, Verizon is bundling iPads with its MiFi mobile 3G hotspot device - which it's offering at a deep discount - and offering a new, cheaper data plan. Following close on the heels of rumors about an arrangement for Verizon to sell the iPhone, the news appears to indicate a closer working relationship between Verizon and Apple.
The Novatel MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot is a portable, battery-powered EV-DO radio with a wireless base station built into it that allows you to make "a personal Wi-Fi cloud" as Verizon's press release puts it. You can connect up to five WiFi-enabled devices, so you can also use it to connect your laptop on the go.. when you're not using your new iPad that is. Verizon claims that the MiFi 2200's rechargeable battery will give up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time.
Verizon's prices for its bundles are the same as the 3G iPad at AT&T:
- iPad 16 GB + MiFi=$629
- iPad 32 GB + MiFi=$729
- iPad 64 GB + MiFi=$829
Given that the MiFi retails for $269 without contract, this means that Verizon's cutting $130 off the price in order to compete with AT&T. A 1GB data plan is available without a contract for $20 a month, which is a pretty good deal compared to the normal $40 for 250MB and $60 for 5GB plans. Especially given that you get the ability to connect more than just one device to Verizon's much more widespread 3G network, this is should sell lots of iPads.