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
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.
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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.