The long, long, long awaited Verizon iPhones is very probably going to be announced by Verizon and Apple in an event in New York on Tuesday. Of course nothing is official, but the time is certainly right.
If the Verizon iPhone is announced, here's what I believe the phone will be. First of all, the phone will look just like the iPhone 4 looks now, and the interface will look exactly the same. The phone will likely be called the Verizon iPhone. But later, another phone called the Verizon iPhone 4G (the LTE version) will show up.
A Dual-Mode iPhone?
Under the hood, of course, there will be differences. The phone will support CDMA Rev A -- the wireless technology used by the Verizon 3G network. That will enable to Verizon to sell the phone in all its markets.
I think the phone will be a dual-mode phone that will also support GSM/UMTS/HSPA+, the technology used in the AT&T 3G network. This way, Apple will be able to manufacture one phone that it can sell to both Verizon and AT&T.
In theory the phone could be sold by Sprint (CDMA) and T-Mobile (GSM/UMTS/HSPA+). I'm not suggesting that Sprint and T-Mobile will begin selling the iPhone anytime soon, just that it would be technically possible.
What About LTE?
If Verizon gets a CDMA phone from Apple it will almost certainly get a LTE iPhone. Who knows? Maybe Verizon and Apple will trot out a brand new LTE iPhone at the event Tuesday. It certainly announced a lot of LTE devices at CES 2011.
An LTE iPhone might send shockwaves through the wireless world; it would be a combination of (arguably) the best and certainly America's favorite smartphone with the best wireless network in the US.
Anyway, the tension is high as phone geeks anxiously await the big show in New York on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal is even saying that Steve Jobs will show up. Aside from the phone(s), it would be a joy to see Mr. Magical on the same stage with the buttoned-up, stuffy folks from Verizon.
You couldn't find two companies with more different cultures, but for the sake of smartphone users (and people who like to make clear, uninterrupted telephone calls) I hope the two have a happy and fruitful relationship.
A Ready-made Market
The bottom line: As was seen in Consumer Reports recent phone and network satisfaction report, there's still a major stigma around AT&T wireless service.
This really involves two groups of people -- current iPhone users who would rather give up the phone than sign another service contract with AT&T, and people who want to get an iPhone but have heard over and over that the AT&T network is, uh, unsatisfactory.
These are large groups of people, and many of them would buy a Verizon iPhone.