It has been one tease after another since the iPhone launched in 2007 that a version of the phone would be showing up on the Verizon network. Things had gotten so bad that I had actually sworn off writing any more stories about the rumors, but even I have to admit that the mounting evidence is looking better than ever that this is really going to happen this time.
According to a rumor from The Wall Street Journal, people have now been briefed on a CDMA version of the iPhone. The current version is GSM only, the bands that the majority of the world uses for cell phones, but CDMA is used by the likes of Sprint and Verizon here in the United States and a few other carriers around the world.
The rumor goes that while Apple is of course working on the iPhone 5, the Verizon iPhone would release early enough in 2011 that it would be a modified iPhone 4, an iPhone 4.5 if you would. There is no word how long after the GSM iPhone 5 releases that the CDMA version would follow, but this could lead to two iPhone releases per year.
There is also no word on if the CDMA phone would be limited to Verizon in the United States, or if we might see Sprint also jump on the bandwagon.
While the evidence is mounting that this is finally happening, one of the most compelling arguments I’ve heard thus far that now is the time for this is that it would be a way to stem the spread of Android. Google is quickly catching up on Apple for marketshare, and even passed it according to some measurements, but if Apple breaks loose with an iPhone on at least Verizon, Google could see that share of the market rapidly decline. If anything was to motivate Apple CEO Steve Jobs into finally doing this, that might be it. He is not one to pass up chances to take swipes at Google.
Everything seems to indicate that the release will happen in early 2011, and considering Verizon has a keynote scheduled for the first morning of the Consumer Electronics Show this year, we almost wonder if that is where the surprise announcement will happen. Be sure to tune in Jan. 6, 2011 for what goes down there.
What say you? Could the growth of Android be the cause of the iPhone finally going to other carriers in the United States?