Verizon’s iPhone Gets First Quarter of 2011 Release Date

Apple could be releasing a highly anticipated version of its iPhone 4 on Verizon Wirelesses network in the first three months of next year. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal in case you were wondering. This all begs the question though—are the rumors real? They’ve been around for three years now and only grow louder each time the holidays come around.

No one doubts that Verizon getting a version of Apple’s iPhone makes sense for both Verizon and Apple. The problem though is that Apple signed an exclusivity contract way back that gave AT&T sole rights to sell the iPhone in the United States. Apple signed similar contracts all over the world, but some of them have been deemed illegal in court (France) and others have been canceled or not renewed. From what is known, Apple’s deal with AT&T extends into next year, possibly until 2012. Have the two companies negotiated something that lets Apple sell other carriers the iPhone? I’m sure both companies are sworn to silence on the topic through plenty of non-disclosure agreements all around so it’s no surprise that we’ve heard nothing on this.

What keeps getting downplayed in favor of the far more popular Verizon iPhone rumors are the rumors about T-Mobile getting a version of Apple’s iPhone next year. Some have named the iPhone 3GS model as the one T-Mobile will get. Stragely enough, the current iPhone 3GS model is incompatible with T-Mobile’s 3G network (and 4G network too). T-Mobile, being a latecomer to 3G, ended up with a different 3G frequency is commonly used. The result? The iPhone 3GS has 3G capabilities on AT&T’s network in the US and Europe, but not on T-Mobile in the US. T-Mobile’s updated network now supports speeds in some markets that meet Sprint’s 4G WiMax network speeds for uploads and downloads but even with an unlocked iPhone 4, no one can enjoy them. Whatever carrier gets the iPhone next will have its model redesigned in some way, regardless of its T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint.

Speculation abounds about the iPhone 5, which is expected to have NFC (near field communications) technology inside, allowing mobile payment through the smartphone that functions like a debit or credit card. The iPhone 5 is rumored to have both CDMA and GSM cellular technologies integrated into a single radio chip, allowing it to work on all carriers globally. Apple then could use the proprietary microSIM technology it is working on then sell the iPhones itself through its online store and shackle those iPhones to contracts after activating them through iTunes. Apple is an expert at marketing and the new trend is for companies to compete in distribution. Cutting carriers out of the iPhone experience has to be the next step in Apple’s plan to be the face of smartphones.

Think the Verizon iPhone rumors are real? Could we really have it by the end of March? I want one. Let me know what you think!

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