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Apple-Verizon Partnership Finally Happens. But No iPhone.

As long swirling rumors of a Verizon iPhone heat back up, Apple announced today that it has finally reached a partnership agreement with a carrier other than AT&T.

Staring later this month, Verizon retail stores will sell the Apple iPad.

The iPad will be both the first Apple product and the first tablet sold through Verizon stores when it hits shelves on October 28th.  While this announcement is certain to add some fire to the iPhone rumors, the Apple-Verizon iPad partnership already seems like a victory for both sides.

The iPad recently went on sale in Target stores, online at Amazon.com, and will go on sale at Wal-Mart later this week.  Combine that with the over 2,000 outlets in Verizon’s retail network and Apple has significantly expanded its sales reach in just a few weeks.

Heading into a holiday season and facing expected releases of competitor’s devices, Apple has given itself another leg up on the competition.

For Verizon, the deal may prove to be something of a field test for an eventual iPhone partnership.  It has long been believed that Apple has hopes of broadening its iPhone market, and Verizon has always been considered the top choice.

Given recent issues with AT&T and the consistent level of customer complaints about the wireless carrier’s network, bringing an end to the exclusivity of their deal with AT&T would seem to be in Apple’s best interests.

Should the iPad sell well in Verizon stores, it may hasten the seemingly inevitable arrival of a Verizon iPhone.

While Verizon will be selling the iPad, it won’t be offering every version.  Because the technology behind Verizon’s wireless network is incompatible the iPad’s cellular technology, the wireless giant will only sell the WI-FI version of the iPad.

Verizon will offer a device with an adapter that allows the iPad to connect to cellular networks.  The MI-FI device is expected to retail for around $130.

The Apple-Verizon iPad marriage should easily whet the appetite of many Apple fans, who have long clamored for the company’s devices but resisted signing on with AT&T.  Those customers represent an untapped market for Apple, one that could well give them the impetus to finally move the iPhone.

 

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