10 January 2011

Verizon Wireless Is NOT Getting The iPhone... Yet

I am the Rochester Smartphone Reporter for Examiner.com. Below is my first article. In case it doesn't get published in time - it being my first article, I don't get to do it willy-nilly - I wanted to put it here as well.


Last week, Verizon Wireless sent invitations to an event in New York City. This announcement has been interpreted my many sources, including the Wall Street Journal, as the long-awaited announcement of the Verizon iPhone. Why else, the speculation continues, would Verizon Wireless be so flashy, and not announce this at the Consumer Electronics Show last week? It cannot possibly be anything less important than the iPhone.

However, this doesn't look to be a typical Apple announcement. There are several reasons to draw this conclusion.
  • Apple has announced all their new technology over the last decade either on their own campus, in Cupertino, CA, or at their annual Developer's Conference. Lincoln Center in New York City is neither location.
  • Apple makes their own product announcements. They didn't allow AT&T to announce the iPhone. They didn't allow Zynga to announce FarmVille for the iPhone. Sure, AT&T and Zynga were on stage and in attendance at their respective events, but it was Apple's show. This isn't.
  • At CES, Verizon Wireless had a huge presence. Throughout the show, they introduced phone after phone after phone. Almost every phone they introduced was based on Google's Android Operating System. For Verizon to so quickly announce a product seen in the marketplace as a huge rival to the product line they spent the last week trumpeting seems counterintuitive.
  • Verizon Wireless already has an Apple product in their stable - the iPad. However, their version of the iPad is the WiFi-only version. Currently, Verizon's network runs on a technology that does not require or utilize a SIM card. Apple's 3G products in the US all require SIM cards, which is great for the AT&T network. The next version of the Verizon Network, their 4G/LTE offering, does utilize SIM cards. It stands to reason that the first iPhone on Verizon will be an LTE phone. Those were all announced last week.
  • More on the LTE front: Verizon Wireless is building their LTE network, but the coverage is still spotty, focused in some of the largest markets. If the iPhone is an LTE version of the device, its audience would be severly limited by this factor. On the other hand, if it were only a 3G device, the limitation would be the use of old technology that will be left behind by year's end. Either way, Apple loses here.
It's important to note that there is significant evidence and wide reporting that tomorrow's announcement is about Verizon's introduction of Windows Phone 7 to their offerings, and is not an Apple announcement. This reporting, right or wrong, has no bearing on the opinions expressed above. However, that phone, the HTC Trophy, is a 3G phone, and not reliant on LTE, which is why it was not announced at CES.

And it is possible that the speculation by the Wall Street Journal is right, and this speculation is incorrect. However, while the iPhone is imminent on the Verizon Wireless network, all signs point to that particular announcement coming well after tomorrow.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments on this subject!