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Next-Generation iPad to Come in Three Models, One of them CDMA Native?

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DigitTimes is reporting that Apple is planning to release three distinctive models of the next-generation iPad. Specifically, these models include a Wi-Fi only model, a UMTS 3G model similar to the one running on AT&T’s networked, and a new CDMA model that would work natively on Verizon’s network. All three models are expected to be released sometime in 2011, and are reportedly set for production in 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.

Of course, Apple already offers two iPad models. One that is Wi-Fi only and another that works works with AT&T’s 3G network along with Wi-Fi. Both come in 16/32/and 64GB capacities.

This report most certainly sounds plausible. After all, Apple and Verizon are already working together shipping the Wi-Fi only iPad along with Verizon’s MiFi portable hotspot. It would make sense for Apple to build the CDMA radio right into the device so it could function on Verizon’s network natively. However, if it can be done, I see this panning out a little differently. Instead of three distinct models like this report claims, I predict Apple will keep just two. One model will still be Wi-Fi, and the other will be have a universal radio in it that will work with both AT&T’s UTMS network and Verizon’s CDMA network. Just a guess on my part, but I can’t see Apple putting out that many models. They like to avoid consumer confusion.

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