April 8th, 2010
Lusting for an iPhone, but avoiding an AT&T contract like the plague? Well, satisfaction may be just around the corner if rumors of a Verizon iPhone releasing soon are true. No official news has come from the Apple or the Verizon camp, and rumors about a Verizon iPhone release aren’t new, but here are just a few of the reasons why, this time, they may actually be true:
1. It’s about time. Not only because non-AT&T consumers have been waiting for an opportunity to join the iPhone experience, but also AT&T’s exclusive contract with Apple was only for three years, which ends this summer. Coincidentally, this is also the speculated time period for the Verizon iPhone release date.
2. The Wall Street Journal is reporting it. Next to Apple actually fessing up, a WSJ story that has triggered the curious reporting of other reputable news outlets, is a good indication that the buzz is true. Investors appear to be following this line of thinking, too. At the market’s closing on March 30th, Apple’s stock experienced a record high closing and Verizon stocks closed at an advantage, too. On the same day’s closing, AT&T’s stock appeared to have dropped since the WSJ and other news outlets began reporting that a Verizon iPhone release date may be announced soon.
3. Timing, again. While each spring, rumors of an iPhone freedom march surface like clockwork, the timing on this one appears to hold more credibility with die hard smartphone users than any of the others. Aside from the reasons cited above, Apple has a history of introducing iPhone upgrades each summer. This year’s upgrade could actually come in the form of a new device with a new provider. Verizon is also rumored to be scrambling for an early unveiling of LTE technology, which we’ll talk more about in a minute, but for now know that an early release would beat AT&T to the punch and give the iPhone data speeds its never known on its current network.
The Wall Street Journal buzz reports that the new iPhone will utilize CDMA technology, which is a strong selling point for both Verizon and Sprint. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is used with 3rd Generation (3G) technology, which offers users the fastest data speeds short of wi-fi. Currently, 4G technology is offered in limited markets by Sprint and some believe that both 3G and 4G speeds are actually faster for data transfers and web surfing than wi-fi.
In the past, Apple has been rather vocal in that it is not a fan of CDMA technology. However, consumers don’t appear to share Apple’s low opinion of CDMA, nor are many of them enthusiastic about AT&T’s service, in general. Complaints about AT&T’s shoddy voice service are pretty commonplace. Add to this the fact that Google’s Android platform for smartphones is regarded to be a top-contender for the iPhone and the fact that Sprint has plans to to offer 4G speeds on its HTC EVO Android phone this summer, and Apple may finally be listening to consumers. If so, Apple is clearly preparing to make a very strategic, competitive move in order to maintain its market position. In doing so, Apple would not only be positioned to compete with the fastest Android on the market offered by Sprint, but it would attract approximately 80 million more Verizon customers in the process.
Verizon is also set to unveil its own LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology, which is a step closer to 4G technology and is currently doing well in Scandinavian markets. Although, AT&T also has plans to offer LTE, it’s not slated to do so until 2011. Verizon, on the other hand, has gone back and forth on release times for LTE enabled devices, but the recent buzz is that it may be set to begin offering LTE to its customers any day now. This leaves millions questioning whether the iPhone could actually be Verizon’s first LTE device.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, because of different technologies used, current iPhone users who are out of contract with AT&T will have to purchase a new Verizon iPhone if they plan on changing carriers.
With new technologies like 3G, 4G and LTE cropping up with lightening fast speed, it is highly possible that Apple intends to capitalize on this trend by finally opening the iPhone up to carriers that can actually take its device to the next level. Although AT&T promises to stay up to speed by using LTE technology, they may be too late in doing so by 2011. An exact Verizon iPhone release date has yet to be announced, but with Apple’s agreement with AT&T expiring long before their LTE launch, it appears that consumers aren’t the only ones looking forward to a new iPhone carrier.