In the surest sign yet that Verizon will soon carry the iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working on a CDMA compatible phone. This model would work on Verizon's wireless network and may appear in stores as early as this year. While there are reasons to be skeptical of the WSJ report, most technology observers expected an Apple-Verizon partnership would happen eventually. Here's how a "VeriPhone" could shake up the smartphone wars:

  • This Comes Just in Time for Apple, writes the Silicon Valley Business Journal: "Reports that Apple Inc. may be ready to team up with carriers other than AT&T Inc. in the U.S. comes hard on the heels of a report that it may soon be overtaken in terms of U.S. mobile Web traffic by Google Inc.'s Android operating system... The report shows that the iPhone's share of U.S. traffic feel from 55 percent in November to 44 percent in February while Android shot up to 42 percent from 27 percent in the same time frame."
  • Get Ready for an iPhone Takeover, writes 'Baruch Spinoza' of Ultimi Barborum. The pseudonymous writer has been anticipating the effect of a Verizon deal for a while now. The iPhone's success in Europe is instructive:

Why would an iPhone Verizon be so important? Well, lots of Americans are surprised when they come to Europe, and they see just how many people have iPhones here versus back home. Apples’ dominance of the high end market here is quite astonishing. Well over 1 in 4 adults in my office have one in, and I, Baruch, reckon that may be the rate across the tonier parts of the continent. ...

The indispensable Admob gives us the terrifying statistic that fully 78% of all browsing on mobile phones in western Europe takes place on iPhones or iPod Touches. In the US, its home market, Apple’s share of mobile browsing is a “measly” 54%.

Why the difference? Easy. In Europe all the operators can sell iPhones. Apple has gone non-exclusive in France, Germany, and was always non-exclusive in Italy. Hell, in the UK you can get it at sodding Tesco’s. In the US it can only be sold on the AT&T network.
  • Hold Your Horses, says Jonathan Schildkraut, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. In an interview with the Business Journal, he says " Verizon may actually gain more from the growing popularity of Android than from getting the ability to sell a CDMA version of the iPhone. That's because carrier subsidies for the iPhone are the highest in the industry and Apple doesn't share application revenue."