If Verizon and the iPhone had a relationship, it would definitely not be like the ideal relationships depicted in chick-flicks like “The Notebook” or “Pretty Woman.” Verizon and the iPhone most definitely would have a love-hate relationship and major commitment issues, if you ask me… However, I’m one of those who has been following this love-hate relationship for years, hoping that they’d overcome their differences, kiss and make up, and get married! I’m still crossing my fingers. I’ve been with Verizon for 7 years now, and since 2008, rumors about the iPhone being opened up to Verizon’s network have been surfacing on-and-off. However, of those years if there has ever been a possibility, it’s now!
iPhone 4 coming to Verizon in February 2011!
Although I didn’t have an exact date, I wasn’t too far off :)
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s past.
Verizon passes up iPhone deal with Apple
If you don’t know or don’t remember, Verizon was the first company Apple went to in preparations to debut the release of the 1st iPhone; however, Verizon rejected the deal in January 2009, reports USA Today. The issue? Control over the distribution of and support for the iPhone. Not too long after Verizon passed up the deal, Apple made agreements with AT&T. Since then, the iPhone has been exclusively sold on AT&T’s network.
In April 2009, news started arising again with reports of an iPhone-Verizon deal in mid 2009 from sources like PC Magazine and USA Today, and in November of 2009, AppleInsider and Business Insider reported a 2010 iPhone-Verizon deal.
The argument that a Verizon iPhone was not possible was the differences in the AT&T and Verizon networks. AT&T’s network runs on GSM technology while Verizon’s network runs on CDMA–AT&T’s phones run off SIM cards and Verizon’s phones do not. That would have required Apple to re-engineer the iPhone to run on a CDMA network. No evidence was available about Apple producing a CDMA phone. Case closed.
So why is a Verizon iPhone possible now?
If you still keep up with the Verizon-iPhone news, there is a major difference between the sources, rumors, and “inside-information” then and the sources, rumors, and “inside-info” now. The difference? Consistency. Although the sites were legitimate, the information they provided wasn’t reliable nor did the information match up.
On June 29, 2010, Bloomberg published an article entitled, Verizon Wireless Said to Get Apple IPhone in January. Now Bloomberg isn’t the type of source to throw out nonsensical rumors out there. Right behind the tail of Bloomberg came other major sources like CNET, MSNBC, Gigaom, and Tech Crunch.
This time the rumors are based on evidence that Apple made orders for millions of CDMA chips from Qualcomm, the largest supplier of chipsets in the world.
In August, John Gruber, a reliable source for Apple tech, also published an article about a prototype CDMA iPhone, codename N92.
Gruber states in his article that although he doesn’t know anything about negotiations with Verizon, engineer-wise…
“the wheels are turning on N92, the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4.” Gruber also states that the CDMA iPhone is no longer a cold storage, keep-it-alive-just-in-case-we-need-it project. …that doesn’t make it a sure thing. It is essential to reiterate that for all I know, it is coming to market but has nothing to do with Verizon. GSM is more popular worldwide, but Verizon is not the only major CDMA carrier in the world. Maybe it’s going to Sprint. Maybe it’s going to South America, or Asia. Maybe it’s all about China Telecom.
iPhone 4 coming to China in September 25
Well what do you know, Gruber was right. The iPhone 4 is to be made available in China on September 25. These Chinese iPhones are activated by micro SIM cards but are said to be WCDMA compatible. I did my research on WCDMA, and it seems WCDMA combines GSM and CDMA technology. So were those millions of CDMA chips from Qualcomm used in these Chinese iPhones? It seems that way.
Here’s where it all adds up
AT&T’s and Verizon’s 4G network
AT&T and Verizon are separately working to establish their own 4G networks in the next year. As I had mentioned, up until now AT&T’s network has been based on GSM technology while Verizon on CDMA technology. The major difference was a SIM card.
Now, AT&T and Verizon are both working to convert their networks to LTE (Long Term Evolution). Verizon is planning to begin rolling out LTE to 30 large cities by the end of 2010 while AT&T by mid 2011 (the first city for AT&T’s LTE is said to be Dallas).
The iPhone 4 uses a micro SIM card. LTE technology is said to require a micro SIM card as well. Pictures of a Verizon 4G LTE SIM was released by Engadget earlier in July.
If there was ever a time in the history of a possible Verizon iPhone, it’s now. Although it seems that Apple’s order of millions of CDMA chips was not directly for a CDMA iPhone on Verizon, with AT&T and Verizon both going with LTE as their 4G technology, Verizon’s LTE running on micro SIM cards, and not leaving out the explosion of Android, a Verizon iPhone is very probable.
Although Apple ranks #2 in the smartphone platform market share with 23.8%, comScore reported that Google recently took the 3rd spot over Microsoft in the smartphone platform market share with 15% in July 2010, jumping up 5% from April 2010.
As Android keeps gaining market share, more developers will start to catch on and develop more for the Android platform. As for Apple, their exclusivity with AT&T is not going to help; Apple must expand.