Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices at AT&T, told Macworld he believes that as the cost of cellular radios drops, many tablet makers will sell only models with cellular data connectivity built in.
This would give users the choice of whether or not to subscribe to a data plan, without needing to pay a greater up-front cost for hardware.
“All devices should have all capabilities built in from the beginning,” Lurie said.
One obvious drawback is price. Apple, for example, currently charges an addtional $130 retail to add 3G/4G technology to their tablets. Chipsets are currently in the $30-70$ range.
A bigger issue, however, is spectrum. Apple currently makes separate versions of the iPad for AT&T and Verizon, primarily because of frequency differences and LTE bands covered.
All in all, it’s pretty safe to bet that we’re headed into a future of permanent online connectivity… eventually.