Wouldn't that be a good thing?
I'm pretty sure AT&T and Verizon have both complained briefly about paying Apple off on phone subsidizations, not to mention the time/money they spend on training their employees on Apple and training other places' employees on their service plans, so it wouldn't shock me if they're the ones who are resisting this concept. Also, as someone who sells Apple products I believe that month to month usage, when used cleverly, is one of the best features of a 3G/4G iPad, so I would be bummed if that changed. The other thing is that if buying an iPad got into contract signing and all that jazz then the locations it could be purchased at would diminish. I work for a retail-based Apple authorized reseller and we do not sell iPhones because we don't want to go through the headaches/expenses of partnering with the carriers. Apple is very shrewd, so if they can sell it at more locations by staying away from contracts then that is exactly what they're going to do.
Am I reading this right? You think the carriers are the ones opposed to a contract-subsidization model?
You can buy Android tablets without contract. You just pay the higher unsubsidized price for it like you are doing for the iPad. I had a Verizon Galaxy Tab 10.1 without contract.One big reason I chose the iPad over Android tablets is the fact that a contract isn't required.
I can't cite any specific articles off the top of my head, but I very distinctly recall the carriers vocalizing their concerns with how much money they were paying to Apple up front for contracts that take 2 years on average to close out. It makes perfect sense that they would experience anxiety over taking on another Apple product that sells by the millions. AT&T/Verizon may want to keep that money in their pocket instead of paying Apple to facilitate contract generation and then waiting to get paid back by the end users. Also, subsidizing a 3G/4G iPad wouldn't result in the same discounts as it does with the iPhone because we don't pay the carriers for minutes and text on the iPad, so how much money would really come off the top at that point? $300 at the most? Think about all the effort that the carriers would exert to make that happen, and for what? They still make their money either way, and without subsidizing the purchase they get their money more sooner than later.
Ultimately, my point is to still be careful what we wish for. The consumers and resellers would benefit very least from this if it happened in my opinion. You seem to think my opinion is wrong though based on your comment, so oh well. Other thoughts?
Maybe Apple doesn't want to do it. Perhaps they figure that they're having a hard time meeting demand without a subsidy/contract. If they sold it for $299 w/ 2 yr $30/mo contract, they wouldn't be able to make them fast enough.