Verizon iPad confirmed, will iPhone be next?

Apple (AAPL) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) finally are getting it on. But are there bigger plans in the works?

The companies have announced a cobbled iPad, sans built-in 3G but bundled with Verizon’s MiFi Mobile Hotspot. This will be launched on Oct. 28 in 2,000 stores nationwide. The news on the Verizon iPad could foreshadow a Verizon iPhone, finally breaking the AT&T stranglehold on the iPhone.

Kent German and Erica Ogg said in CNET that a Verizon iPhone could hit the market in early 2011. They said, “No, it’s not official yet, but after years of rumors and gossip, it appears that a Verizon Wireless iPhone will be a reality early next year. It would be an understatement to say this would be a very big deal – not only to Apple and Verizon, but also to AT&T, which would lose its exclusive hold on Apple’s device.” There’s no confirmation from the involved parties, but the Verizon iPad is coming for sure. Data plans for the Verizon MiFI bundle start at $20 per month for 1GB. The iPad with Wi-Fi and MiFi goes from $629.99 for a 16GBiPad to $729.99 for a 32GB device and $829.99 for a 64GB iPad.

Verizon said consumers get: “All the magic of iPad. All the nationwide power and reliability of Verizon.” Take that AT&T (T), the only network iPad now connects with directly.

Meanwhile, electronista reported AT&T would begin selling the iPad in its stores on October 28. AT&T data plans for the iPad start at $15 per month. Take that Verizon.

A downside for consumers who opt for the Verizon iPad MiFi combo is that they have to carry two pieces of gear. A PCWorld reporter joked that he doesn’t mind carrying the extra gear because he wears “Michael Jackson pants” with loads of pockets.

Matthew Shaer, in Christian Science Monitor, noted consumers could have had this combo for a while just using MiFi with an iPad: “Since these MiFis have been around for some time now, you could have owned a ‘Verizon iPad’ all along.” Still, the symbolism of a Verizon-Apple world makes many hearts go pitter-pat.

And things have been heating up in the tablet market.

Shaer noted: “The Verizon iPad announcement comes at a propitious time for the tablet market, which is getting more crowded than a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. Among the tablets scheduled to hit shelves in coming months are the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a tablet powered by the Android OS. Meanwhile, rumors continue to percolate that HTC – the manufacturer of a range of popular smartphones, including the EVO 4G – is making a tablet computer for Google.”

Meanwhile, in the ongoing tech wars, this could be bad news for Motorola, according to John Pletz in Crain’s Chicago Business.

He reported: “As the relationship between Apple Inc. and Verizon Wireless gets cozier, Motorola Inc. could find itself the odd man out.”

The iPad, like Apple’s iPhone, could create problems for Schaumburg, IL-based Motorola (MOT), which is expected to launch an Android-powered tablet computer early next year, with Verizon as its key distribution partner. Direct competition from Apple could steal momentum from CEO Sanjay Jha’s Motorola Mobility, the first-quarter spin-off that will focus on the mobile devices and set-top box businesses.

The beat goes on.

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