Every Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) fan knows that the new iPad comes out on Friday, with improved specs at the same price point at the original. AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (Nasdaq: VOD) -- will both offer units at all three storage capacities that connect to each company's 3G network. So why are we still paying $130 more for the 3G models than we do for those strictly limited to Wi-Fi access? 

I understand that the 3G chips aren't cheap. I'm merely asking why AT&T or Verizon aren't offering subsidized iPads if buyers agree to contractually shackle themselves to two years of service.

Wireless carriers do this all the time with cell phones, and they've started to do so with other tablets, too. Verizon is offering Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI) Xoom at a $200 for those committing to two years of service. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab at half of its $499 price for those signing up for 24 months of connectivity.

Maybe the carriers feel that they don't have to go that far with the iPad 2. If you're buying a 3G model through AT&T or Verizon, you're ultimately going to have to go through their data plans. Or do you?

One of my more regrettable financial decisions last year was buying the 3G model of a 32-gigabyte iPad. It remains a home gadget for my family. On rare road trips, I have my MiFi mobile hotspot for connectivity. In short, I wasted $130 on a feature I hardly never use. However, I probably would have been willing to sign a two-year data deal to shave $200 or $250 off the price at the time.

Now that AT&T's no longer the only official carrier for the iPad 2's internal 3G -- and eventually 4G -- connectivity, why isn't AT&T or Verizon going the subsidization route? The answer obviously isn't collusion. These two companies hate one another -- in their TV attack ads, anyway.

Is Apple trying to protect its premium price points? This would make more sense, but then again, the company did everything it could to drive iPhone prices down through carrier subsidization.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but when T-Mobile is offering Android-fueled Galaxy Tabs for $249, Apple's blowing the opportunity to really go mass market with the iPad 2 by sticking to its list prices.

Would subsidized iPads help or hurt Apple? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Vodafone Group is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is starting to see more Apple products creep into his home lately. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Vodafone. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.