No, not another 'Verizon iPhone' story!
"When will Verizon get the iPhone?" has become the "are we there yet?" of tech journalists: a question we got tired of long ago but which continues to be asked.
Then again, those of us in the tech press can only blame ourselves for the query's persistence, since we keep writing about it over and over. (See, here I am contributing to the problem. ... I feel a little dirty just writing this post.)
Today's grist for the mill comes from a Bloomberg News story that begins "Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company, will start selling Apple Inc.'s iPhone next year."
Reporter Amy Thomson cites "two people familiar with the plans" who, surprisingly enough, "declined to be named because the information isn't public." In an even more shocking development, Verizon and Apple spokespeople declined to comment or did not respond to queries.
According to these nameless individuals, Verizon will start selling the iPhone in January.
(Cue "OMG Verizon iPhone!!!" exultation from Verizon subscribers with contracts ending in January -- followed by wails of anguish and fury from customers who just re-upped their contracts for another two years.)
Should we find this report any more credible than earlier stories that cited unnamed sources of their own -- all of which have been incorrect so far?
I'll fall back on the logic I laid out in a Help File item 2½ weeks ago after getting the Verizon-iPhone question twice in a few hours (once in a phone call from one of my cousins and a second time in an e-mail from a reader). To recap: Apple doesn't want to make two
separate dramatically different versions of the iPhone for the U.S., so nothing can happen until Verizon begins to upgrade its network to a newer wireless standard called LTE (Long Term Evolution) that is also being adopted by AT&T and other carriers that today use the older GSM wireless standard.
So when does Verizon plan to start selling LTE service? In recent weeks, Verizon has begun to point to next year's Consumer Electronics Show as the stage for its LTE launch -- though commercial availability might not happen until weeks or months later.
So maybe this time the stories are for real, and you can think realistically about a possible upgrade to a Verizon iPhone next year. But before you commit to limping along on an aging smartphone you'd otherwise replace before 2011, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky?
June 29, 2010; 5:14 PM ET
Categories: Mobile , The business we have chosen
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