Verizon will soon be selling a CDMA-compatible version of the iPad, the company's chief financial officer told Bloomberg
. Instead of the MiFi device users currently need to connect to Verizon's network, the future model will connect directly like the iPad + 3G does on AT&T's network. Verizon Communications CFO Francis Shammo did not give a date for the CDMA iPad, and it was not clear that this was a planned announcement or something the exec just blurted out: Apple has so far not commented on the report.
Apple and Verizon have, of course, been moving closer for some time. The carrier began selling the iPad + WiFi bundled with Verizon's MiFi hotspot back at the end of October, and development of the CDMA iPhone had doubtless already begun at that time. With the highest priority - a CDMA iPhone - out of the way, Apple's engineers can now use that as leverage to focus on an iPad compatible with Verizon's 3G network. There is a potentially huge market for such a device: even larger than the iPhones, as users don't face the prospect of breaking cell service contracts in order to switch from another carrier.
In other updates following the Verizon announcement today, subtle differences in the location of the headphone jack
and mute switch
may mean that case and other accessory designers will have to come out with separate products for Verizon's iPhone. The most visible difference - the change in the antenna band - appears to make a difference with the Death Grip issue, according to Ars Technica. Contributing editor Chris Foresman found that there was no change in signal when he held a demo Verizon phone by the edges following the announcement.
Also, the demo phones were found to be running iOS 4.2.5, which includes a "Personal Hotspot" option in Settings.app. Apple's senior VP for worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, told Ars
it was something they did for Verizon that other carriers might also someday use
. "We did the hotspot feature because it's something Verizon offers, they have a system and specs for it in place," Schiller said. "We can't say if it will come to AT&T."