We’ve heard rumors for months that Apple will open up the iPhone beyond AT&T Wireless, most likely to Verizon Wireless. Then speculation soured after Apple unveiled the iPad with hooks into AT&T’s service. Now a major publication has weighed in, giving some credence to a Verizon iPhone.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that sources briefed on the matter have said Apple is developing two new iPhones this summer—including one that’s built for Verizon Wireless—which coincides with the end of AT&T’s three-year iPhone exclusivity deal with Apple.
This new iPhone model will run on the CDMA cellular network, which is used by Verizon. The CDMA iPhone is being manufactured by Pegatron Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s ASUSTek Computer, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last summer, USA Today reported anonymous sources saying Apple and Verizon were thick in talks to create a new version of the iPhone that would run on CDMA. In a CIO.com story, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said at the time: “I don’t think it’s real. Apple has said publicly that they don’t care for CDMA because it’s not a WW standard. Thus, the first time Apple could show up on Verizon is when they move to LTE, which is about 2012.”
Perhaps Apple has had a change of heart. Since the rumors started last summer, furor over AT&T’s shoddy service has reached a crescendo for many iPhone owners, especially in New York City and San Francisco. The iPhone is also facing stiff competition from exciting new smartphones, namely the Droid.
A Verizon deal would give Apple access to 80 million new customers, as well as deal a blow to AT&T. Verizon and AT&T have been in an aggressive, comparative ad war over each other’s coverage and service.
“There has been lots of incorrect speculation on CDMA iPhones for a long time. We haven’t seen one yet and only Apple knows when that might occur,” an AT&T spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
Tom Kaneshige is a senior writer for CIO.com in Silicon Valley. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.