iPad comes to Verizon stores at the end of October

Well, now, isn’t this interesting: I just heard from Verizon that their stores will start selling the iPad on October 28. With 3G data packages.

Wait, it isn’t that interesting. Verizon will carry the entire range of WiFi models and pairing them with their MiFi mobile 3G WiFi hotspot. So it’s not a 3G iDevice communicating directly through the Verizon 3G network.

Still, that’s a compelling data point. Apple had been expanding the range of iPad retail outlets beyond Apple Stores and AT&T all this quarter; you can buy them at Wal*Mart, for instance. But Verizon is the first mobile wireless store that will have it…and barring another Interesting email, the online.

So! Rumors of a “sooner rathe an later” Verizon iPhone have just clicked one stop higher on the credibility scale. Mind you, it’s still firmly in the “I won’t believe it until I hear an official announcement” zone.

I’m a big fan of the MiFi. I have one, and used it exclusively for mobile and travel access for more than a year. And until my personal iPad 3G arrived, it was how I connected to the Internet with an iPad when I wasn’t at home or in The Bagel Place With The WiFi. These devices are the most economical way to get mobile broadband on as many devices as possible. You wind up paying just one monthly fee instead of two or three. It supports up to five connections at a time and works with anything that has a WiFi pulse.

Bonus: it’s a base station. I often use it just to set up a local intranet in mu hotel room, to handle file sharing and data transfers between devices.

The data plan is fair. You get one gig of data for $20 a month. No word yet om whether you need to buy it under contract or if you can go month to month.

But yes, the big deal is that Apple and Verizon have clearly allowed themselves to be seen holding hands in a restaurant. Perhaps they’re planning a summer wedding, with the release of a dual-channel GSM/CDMA phone that will work on all networks.