Verizon iPhone Coming Early 2011, Says New Report

Verizon Wireless will get an Apple iPhone in early 2011, The New York Times is reporting, joining a growing list of media outlets to break the story, even as Apple remains mum.

As Microsoft prepares to launch its Windows Phone 7 and rejoin the race for smartphone dominance, new confirmation has reportedly come that Apple will release an iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network in early 2011.

Citing a person "in direct contact with Apple," The New York Times reported Oct. 8 that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is planning to make an iPhone available from Verizon "early next year." The person spoke on condition of anonymity, saying the plans were confidential and he didn't want to alienate contacts at Apple.

Since the iPhone's launch in 2007, the industry-changing smartphone has been the exclusive offering of Verizon rival AT&T. And for nearly just as long, rumors of a Verizon iPhone have circulated. Over the last year, however, the likelihood of such a device has come to seem more likely, even as Jobs has remained characteristically tight-lipped on the topic.

On June 30, analysts on the Bloomberg Television show "Taking Stock" discussed as fact a Verizon iPhone that host Pimm Fox said would be arriving in January 2011. In August, tech site TechCrunch reported that Apple had "submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chip sets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December." While the AT&T network operates on GSM-based technology, Verizon uses the alternate CDMA technology-a factor complicating a move to the nation's largest network.

On Oct. 6,The Wall Street Journal likewise reported, quoting unnamed sources "briefed by Apple," that Qualcomm was at work on a chip for a Verizon iPhone.

The iPhone's expansion to the Verizon network would make it available to tens of millions of potential new customers at a time when Apple, like Microsoft, faces new competition from Android-running smartphones. The Google-created OS is now the fastest-growing operating system in the country and, as the Nielsen Company reported last week, Android smartphones have been best-sellers in 2010, accounting for 32 percent of all smartphones sold in the last six months.

The appearance of a Verizon iPhone in early 2011 would align with the carrier's plans to begin rolling out its 4G network, which will be based on LTE (long-term evolution) technology. At the recent CTIA Wireless event, in San Francisco, Verizon president Lowell McAdam shared that Verizon's initial LTE deployment will take place in 38 cities-up from the initially cited 30 cities-as well as in 60 airports.

While McAdam didn't confirm whether the rollout will coincide with the launch of a Verizon iPhone, he offered that the LTE network, with its high speeds and low latency, would be a great reason for Apple to want its devices on the Verizon network.

A list of the devices that Verizon plans to launch with its LTE network will be made available at the CES event in January, McAdam said. Many speculate that along with an Apple iPhone, an Apple iPad will be included in the announcement.