Major US carriers sign up to sell Apple iPad
AT&T, Verizon join Walmart, Target and Best Buy
Apple's dramatic expansion of iPad sales outlets in the US continued today with the announcement both Verizon and AT&T stores will stock the "magical" device.
The news follows the appearance of the tablet - now known to be the fastest selling consumer electronics gadget of all time - at major US retail chains Walmart and Target, and Best Buy's decision last month to begin selling the device at all of of its 1000-odd stores.
The two carriers will begin selling the iPad on 28 October. AT&T will only offer 3G-capable devices, while Verizon will stock both the 3G and the non-3G, Wi-Fi-only iPads, Apple said.
For much of the time since the iPad's arrival back in April, the device's supply has been constrained. Clearly, production has ramped up considerably. Apple's own online store is a good barometer of production volumes, and from waits of days or even weeks, buyers can now order any iPad and get it delivered within 24 hours, in the States and in the UK.
That gives Apple the scope to take big stocking orders from the major chains and network operators, something it needs to do if it's to get the iPad into as many consumers' hands as possible before they are tempted by the tsunami of Android-based tablets that's building up just over the horizon and will flood the market late this year and early next.
With Samsung's pricey Galaxy Tab out on 1 November, perhaps Apple is already feeling the waters rise around its feet. ®
Water lapping at their feet?
This makes a change, I'm normally one lamenting the shortcomings of the iPad (mainly because it comes so close to being what I want then throwing it away), but I can't see the Galaxy Tab being a big threat to it. I mean some threat, yes - it's got a few better bits and pieces in terms of connectivity, camera, etc. But the only thing that's going to be a real threat to the iPad is something that undercuts it on price. And at £600, that doesn't look like the Galaxy. It's Android and that opens it up which is great for people like me, but the general market isn't going to be so informed about all that, they just want what immediately works.
Maybe if there are some juicy deals with the telcos that put the Galaxy out there at a much lower sign-up price than the iPad then it would hit them hard, but it's probably not going to happen. I'm resigning myself to it being next year before the tablet market really gets competitive.
How long until...
AT&T whine that customers are using too much data?
So, they'll carry the pad, but they won't be able to sell you 3G service on it, lol... They're bundling a MiFi. Deal is if you already have a mifi you can use it, if you don;t, they'll sell you one for the price difference between the WiFi and 3G versions of the ipad. Then, you pay $20 for 1GB per month no-contract, or sign a commitment and pay a ridiculous sum to get more. AT&T offers a $15 plan for 250MB and 2GB for only $5 more than Verizon, requires no secondary device, and neither have a contract. Also, if you have an AT&T plan at all, you get access to all AT&Ts hotspots. No go on Verizon.
oh, and Verizon is selling the pad at $1 higher than MSRP.
So, if you are on Verizon and already have a MiFi, you can pay Verizon a dollar extra than retail and use it as you otherwise would, or you can pay higher than AT&T prices and have to carry a MiFi if you want 3G on the go (though you would get the benefit of using that with your PC too, 1GB is a very small plan and not much use, especially if the iPad is already getting your e-mail and can sync and send documents without the PC needing it's own 3G connection). Or, you could just go buy one from any other retailer and simply use the iPad to sign up for an AT&T month-by-month account, since that has NO EFFECT on the fact your phone might be on Verizon... Who the hell would pay more for less just to use Verizon's slower 3G system? (oh, yea, the iPad is HSDPA compliant, so if you have that in your area from AT&T, which everyone will inside 6-9 months and a lot of us already do, then the $5 more for double the data AT&T offer is also 4x as fast... Jailbreak the pad and use it to connect your PC...
This is a total Verizon fail. They had an opportunity to show Apple they could make some interest, but in the end, their evil pricing and refusal to budge on policy bites its customers. If I was still on Verizon, I;d go to AT&T to buy this on nothing more than Verizon priced it up a buck, ad had the nerve to not offer the same data plan to existing MiFi people.