On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal announced that Apple will introduce an iPhone for the Verizon Wireless network by early 2011, ending the iPhone's hitherto exclusive deal with AT&T. Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have existed for a long time, but many are taking the Journal report as the most credible yet. Verizon is the largest wireless network in the U.S., and onlookers are already speculating about how an iPhone for Verizon will affect the fortunes of Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and Google, whose Android smartphones have been a runaway success this year.
'Easy Money' for Apple, concludes Ken Dulaney, an analyst quoted in a piece by Antone Gonsalves at InformationWeek. Gonsalves notes that "the major complaint with [the iPhone] has been the slowness of the AT&T network... particularly in major cities such as San Francisco and New York." Thus, Dulaney says Apple can expect "a gold mine" from its deal with Verizon.
Fallout for AT&T Hard to Predict, admits Steve Schaefer at Forbes. While "AT&T seems to have a lot to lose," Schaefer notes that "a large number of iPhone users... went to AT&T specifically for the device, but may not be keen on forking up a termination fee in order to migrate back to Verizon."
Far From a Knockout Blow to Android, declares a blog post at LA News Monitor. An iPhone on the Verizon network wouldn't necessarily "defeat the Android once and for all. The popularity of the Google OS is shooting up all the time and more and better devices will eventually come out which would incorporate this operating system."
Weird That Verizon's Not Waiting for 4G, point out analysts at Hudson Square Research, quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog post by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries. Verizon may be hurting its own chances by offering an iPhone before the 4G network is ready. "After spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year to convince America that it has the best network, we don’t think Verizon should launch a product with limited coverage or slow 3G speeds," the Hudson Square analysts told the Journal.
The Timing of This Announcement Is Just Great! At TechCrunch, MG Siegler thinks the Journal story "has all the makings of a good old Apple-controlled leak," calculated to "quickly quiet all the talk of Android’s momentum against the iPhone in the U.S. marketplace." Siegler notes that the rumors, if true, may spell a mixed blessing for Apple: "If Apple really does care about U.S. market share--and again, indications are that they actually do--they need Verizon more than Verizon needs them. And that’s a bad place to be in--and one Apple isn’t used to in recent years."