The iPad may serve as a bit of consolation prize to Verizon customers, some of whom have wanted to use Apple's (AAPL) iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network.
In its announcement Thursday, Verizon Wireless said it will offer three WiFi iPad models, ranging from 16GB to 64GB and costing between $629.99 to $829.99. Verizon Wireless will also offer a data plan of up to 1GB for $20 a month.
"This is the perfect pairing for holiday travels," John Stratton, Verizon Wireless chief operating officer said in a statement. "iPad together with the nation's largest and most reliable 3G data network allows customers to easily connect on the go wherever they are."
A Boost for Apple Sales
iPad sales are expected to push Apple's ranking several notches higher among mobile computing manufacturers, according to a report earlier this month by DisplaySearch.
Apple sold roughly 4 million iPads during the first half of the year and is expected to sell and additional 9 million in the second half. When factoring in the estimated 13 million iPads that are expected to ship this year, along with Apple's 9 million other mobile computing devices, that should bump Apple's ranking to No. 4 among mobile PC brands -- up from No. 7 last year, DisplaySearch noted.
"Apple has been hovering between positions #6 and #8 in mobile PC for many years, but one single product makes it rocket to #4," according to DisplaySearch. "The company is not only changing the mobile phone world with its iPhone but also changing the PC world with its iPad."
Verizon customers, however, may be more interested in getting a launch date for the iPhone on the Verizon network. Some reports suggest that the iPhone will be offered on the Verizon network early next year.
A Slow Start at AT&T
In the meantime, Apple kicked off its iPad AT&T sales today, a move that took a surprisingly long time given that Apple has already allowed other major retailers to offer the popular tablet computer.
Apple is already selling the iPad at big box retailers including Best Buy and Target and is gearing up to include Wal-Mart by Friday. What makes it surprising that AT&T was slow to offer the iPad is the telecom giant's long, exclusive relationship with Apple regarding sales of its iPhone.