USA Today reports:
Verizon and Apple are discussing the possible development of an iPhone for Verizon, with the goal of introducing it next year, people familiar with the situation say.
But last week, Tim Cook said:
From a technology point of view, Verizon is on CDMA, and we chose from the beginning of the iPhone to focus on one phone for the whole world. When you do that, you really go down the GSM route because CDMA really doesn’t have a life to it after a certain point in time.
Sounds like a contradiction, but I think Casey Liss nailed it:
Yes, everyone (including Verizon) is moving to a compatible 4G technology called LTE, but even if that were to start happening in 2010 as news media is reporting, I understand that to be more than just a software update on all of their equipment. Thus, if we take my understanding/assumption to be true, they’ll need to update all of their towers with new equipment, thus eliminating the one major draw of Verizon: their ubiquitous network. This 4G iPhone will only be able to use their updated towers, not the entire Verizon coverage area AT&T users are lusting after.
Tim Cook’s remark makes a lot more sense now. He didn’t say that there would never be a Verizon iPhone — he just implied that there were no plans to make a CDMA iPhone.
We’ll probably see a Verizon iPhone once Verizon has a large enough LTE deployment, but there’s no way that’s happening in 2010. To give some perspective, Verizon started large-scale deployment of EVDO in 2004, but there were still large areas of their network that weren’t upgraded to EVDO as recently as 2007. I’m not sure how much of their network is still left without EVDO coverage, but I bet it’s nontrivial. (Verizon users: ever see your phone drop from “EV” to “1X”?)
Since they plan to start deploying LTE in 2010, they probably won’t have enough coverage to realistically deploy a high-profile, LTE-only phone until at least 2013.