By Darrell Etherington, GigaOM

Verizon will soon be selling a CDMA-compatible version of the iPad, according to Verizon Communications CFO Francis Shammo (via Bloomberg). Users currently have to use a MiFi device to allow iPads to connect to Verizon’s network via Wi-Fi. The new version would be able to connect directly.

Shammo revealed that an embedded chip is on the way, but declined to comment on a timeframe for the introduction of the new version of the iPad. Apple announced the first generation iPad in Jan. 2010, and began selling the tablet in April. If it sticks to the one-year product upgrade cycle, as many analysts and industry watchers expect, Apple may wait until the introduction of the iPad 2 before it includes built-in CDMA capabilities.

Apple today introduced the Verizon iPhone 4, so a broadening of its partnership with the largest U.S. wireless network provider is a logical next step, especially now that it can easily leverage its CDMA know-how from the new iPhone. A CDMA iPad doesn’t need to worry about voice/data conflicts, and Verizon will also likely introduce the personal hotspot feature it unveiled for the iPhone 4 as well, which could give it a significant edge over AT&T. Plus, iPad data plans aren’t contract-based, so there are fewer barriers to switching. This could be the most substantial victory for Verizon stemming from today’s announcement, if the iPad continues to be such a success with consumers in 2011.

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