That wealth of rumors known as DigiTimes is reporting that Apple will offer three (count 'em) discreet versions of the second-generation iPad.
Apple is expected to release three versions of iPad 2, supporting either or a combination of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA, for 2011 with mass production to start as early as the later half of January. Apple will ship about 500,000-530,000 units to channels in January with shipment ratio of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA models at 3:4:3, according to industry sources, citing upstream component makers
The iPad 1 is currently offered in two configurations: WiFi only and WiFi+3G -- and the 3G is exclusively with AT&T. If the rumor pans out it would mean that iPad 2 would be available on Verizon Wireless (and other CDMA networks) in addition to AT&T's current offering.
It would make send that if Apple was developing a CDMA version of the iPhone (which has been rumored to death) that it would also entertain the option of adding a CDMA radio to the iPad as well. I'm encouraged by the news and would definitely upgrade from my current iPad 3G on AT&T to an iPad 2 on VZW -- but that's because Verizon simply works better in my neck of the woods. Obviously, YMMV.
I've said from the very beginning that if Apple is going to continue to grow unit sales and market share it needs to have iOS devices on every carrier. There's no carrier exclusivity that's worth more than having total market domination. And the with Android gaining momentum, Apple can't afford to squander its lead in mobile because it wants to cozy up with one carrier exclusively.
I hope that the VZW/iPad data plans don't cost a king's ransom.
iPad 2 on VZW... you buying?