The agonizing months of rumors that have teased consumers waiting for Apple's iPhone to join Verizon may soon come to a close.
Moves from Apple, AT&T, and Verizon suggest the first quarter of 2011 which is broad, but at the least an announcement could come in the first week of January.
Earlier this week, market researcher Asymco shared a dim report saying Verizon's sales of high profile smartphones have cooled. Verizon has made clear it wants to offer its subscribers the iPhone alongside its strong Android line up.
Records suggest that AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity ends this year.
In September Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said not to expect the iPhone soon. "We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it," he said. Apple has traditionally released new iPhones in the summer, but Verizon would certainly prefer not to wait two quarters to add what has been AT&T's crown jewel to its own product portfolio.
Verizon's eagerness to add another consumer luring device, and Apple's desire to cart even more Android battling iPhones to another major carrier could prompt an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show that starts on Jan. 6 perhaps in time to snare some potential subsrcibers with holiday gift cards.
Apple has posted job openings for engineers to work with CDMA wireless technology on which Verizon's cellular is primarily based, but
Seidenberg also telegraphed that a 4G phone on Verizon's developing LTE network would be more likely to interest Apple. "I think 4G will accelerate the process," he said, "and any other decisions Apple makes would be fine with us. Hopefully, at some point Apple will get with the program."
Currently Verizon's LTE network is limited around 40 major metro areas and a few airport terminals.
An Ars Technica source says an LTE/CDMA iPhone has been in testing on Verizon's network in Boston. They also claim a January launch depends on Verizon launching its LTE network in 30 major markets by the end of this year which Verizon has surpassed.
An October report said Apple was expected to begin production of a new iPhone late this year that would be capable of running on Verizon's wireless network via Qualcomm technology.
DIGITIMES cited sources claiming mass CDMA iPhone production was to start in Novmeber.
The Wall Street Journal report only identifies its sources as "people briefed by Apple, but it confirms previous rumors on a non-AT&T iPhone.
In the technology press, "people briefed by Apple" usually means "leaked with Apple's blessing." Apple is known for its product secrecy, but Verizon has also had to walk on eggshells in wooing the iPhone and its fans.
Android has kept Verizon's smartphone enterprise aloft. Verizon navigated carefully not to upset its current hardware partners (Motorola, HTC and Samsung) which it needs to sell until an iPhone arrives. Leaking a firm iPhone indication would sabotage its current sales.
Verizon also knows its is missing potential growth the longer it waits.