If you were wondering why Apple's stock jumped over $300.00 a share yesterday, all you need to do is see these two announcements:
With these two moves Apple has added over 4,000 new retail locations. If each location sells 10 units a day, that's 1,200,000 units a month. But it's more telling. It shows the fact that the major mobile network operators are more serious than ever about selling mobile data plans to help subsidize the billions of dollars of outlays they are making to upgrade their networks. To them, selling the iPad is very much akin to a modified razor blade strategy. Give'em the razors, let them buy the blades, with the blades being the mobile broadband plans, pre-paid or post paid. They don't really care.
This is also good for Wi-Fi operations, such as in AT&T's case, further supporting their purchase of Wayport. It's also good for client Boingo whose retail focus on consumers and as operator of Wi-Fi in many of the major airports in the USA has more hot spots in their network than any other operator, due largely to roaming partnerships with the likes of AT&T and others around the globe. For enterprise focused iPass, who happens to also be a Boingo partner, the retail introduction and fall sales efforts by the two biggest USA mobile operators means there's likely going to be far greater greater sales penetration for the iPad into the enterprise and that means more adoption, and more usage of Wi-Fi over their network inside companies as well. Even with the 3G capabilities inside the AT&T sold units, and the sale of MiFi's by Verizon, Wi-Fi remains the faster data pipe for people to be on. This means that apps like GoToMeeting from client Citrix OnLine, or WebEx from Cisco two excellent implementations of their services get used by more. It also means that companies like Netflix will likely have a banner 4th quarter as the iPad will further drive their download and streamed content customer base. Again, that's a boon for Wi-Fi operators.
This also means that hotels, coffee shops and other places where people congregate en masse will need to bolster their broadband pipes. No longer will customers want to wait for pokey downloads. To do that means Verizon Wireless' sister company, and AT&T will both have see an increase on the flow of bandwidth on their in ground networks, as will others like Megapath (formerly Covad), Level3, XO, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Swisscom, T-Mobile and new, and lesser known, fixed Wireless Ethernet/WiMax players like Towerstream.
All of these players will likely see the kind of surges that they have never experienced before, because when people are home, or in the office the lean back mode entertainment usage of iPads will put an increased load on their networks, and the highly addictive nature that iPads cause will mean people want the better experience all the time, with the kind of speeds a wired broadband connection delivered via Wi-Fi can insure.
So, I guess it's more than just Apple and the two carriers who will benefit by this broader distribution. It's the entire eco-system. For them, the iPad will be another gift that keeps on giving.