Wishing And Hoping: What iPad On Verizon Really Means

The news that Verizon stores will start selling the iPad is generating a lot of excitement among people who desperately want an iPhone but don't want to use AT&T. They are hoping that today’s announcement is a sign that the iPhone and AT&T are about to end their monogamous relationship.

In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in S i i

The iPad when it was unveiled in January. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP) hide caption

itoggle caption (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in S

The iPad when it was unveiled in January.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

If AT&T and the iPhone were two people dating many people think AT&T got lucky.  He's nice, but he sure isn't good looking.  It's the iPhone that makes a guy like Thomas Hoebell, a freelance photographer in his 40s, swoon.

"Ahhhhh.  The virtues of this girl.  I would say sexy, gorgeous, fashionable," he says.

But, as much as Hoebbel covets the iPhone's good looks, he won't ask her out while she's got an exclusive relationship with AT&T.

Most of his family has Verizon and Hoebell says AT&T's service is lousy in Ithaca, New York where he lives. But, the iPhone is so lovely he's been looking for signs that the monogamous relationship between AT&T and the iPhone may soon be over.

"You know, I've expected it for a long time," he says. "But never really saw any viable signs that it was happening, until the last month or so."

In the last month, major news organizations have quoted anonymous sources who say that Apple will release an iPhone on Verizon. Today's announcement that the iPad would be sold in Verizon stores is the clearest sign yet that the rumors are true says Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"I think this is a harbinger of a deeper relationship between Verizon and Apple in the relatively near future," says Golvin.

Back when Apple first released the iPhone they had good reasons for hitching up with AT&T.  There are two kinds of cell phone networks — the one Verizon uses called CDMA is considered to be more reliable in the US.  But, Golvin says Apple wanted to be able to sell the iPhone all over the world so they went with AT&T's GSM network.

"That is the technology that is most widely used throughout the world,” says Golvin. “More than 80 percent of the subscribers in the world."

But, that isn't true in the US where Verizon's technology is generally believed to provide superior phone service.

Ed Zitron, who has an Android phone, says he only has it because Verizon's network is better.  But if the iPhone goes to Verizon,  "I'd definitely drop my Droid for an iPhone 4..."

Today's announcement  is giving him hope that he will soon be able to drop his Droid.  But, the connection to Verizon doesn't prove that a Verizon iPhone is around the corner.

Verizon is only selling the WiFi ready iPads, which connect to the Verizon network through a special wireless router, because there is no CDMA version of the iPad that can use its networks. Customers can get a wifi data plan from Verizon for as little as $20.  AT&T still has the exclusive on the 3G version because the iPad only uses GSM.

That's why Zitron says he isn't popping the champagne just yet.

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