After the exclusivity arrangement between AT&T and iPhone expires, which is expected to happen in the middle of next year, Verizon iPhone fans (or AT&T customers looking to jump ship) might finally get some satisfaction. According to a new report from OTR Global, the Apple handset may land on Big Red in the third quarter of 2010.
OTR Global claims that Apple has put in orders to build “hybrid” iPhones that have a dual Qualcomm chip capable of using both UMTS and CDMA. If that’s true, it would mean the device would work on virtually everyone’s networks, including Verizon’s. The rumor also purports that Cupertino has enlisted a new manufacturer for this hybrid or “worldmode” phone — Asustek subsidiary Pegatron. (The current iPhone maker is Hon Hai.)
Oh, but there’s more: This phone probably wouldn’t look like the same iPhones we’ve grown accustomed to in the past. There are reports that the new iPhone form factor could feature a smaller 2.8” touchscreen, which would yield a smaller, lighter “worldmode” device.
So that’s the latest gossip. Personally, I’m kind of torn on this. If the iPhone does land on Verizon at all, the arguments for it going on the carrier’s 4G LTE network are extremely compelling. The thing is, it would probably push the timeframe to at least 2011. That’s way too long, especially considering that Android is so hot right now. So I could also see Apple trying to beat back the competition by doing something bold in the near future. (And let’s face it: Its allegiance to AT&T is more of a hinderance than a help right now.)
As for the screen — I can’t say I understand why in the world the company would shrink it. Suddenly, mountains of apps optimized for this size would have to be reworked. (The only way this would be even remotely forgivable is to make room for a QWERTY. But that would wreck Apple’s simple design aesthetic. And it would be served so much better in a side-sliding form factor. C’mon Apple! If Droid could do it and keep the handset sleek and slim, can’t you?)
Speaking of Droid, what about those iDon’t ads? Humorous, yes, but they were also harsh. I know it’s just business, but Apple’s never been the forgiving type. Is it really capable of forgetting about that or Verizon’s latest iPhone-bashing campaign? That’s a hard call. (Okay, I guess the latter commercial is more of a burn to AT&T, which Apple might actually be okay with. But stil...)
So I’m not 100% buying this rumor right now, but it’s intriguing, to say the least. (And possibly horrifying, at least from where AT&T is standing.) Given Apple’s famously tight-lipped behavior, we’ll have to wait and see how (or if) this pans out.
What do you think? Do you believe OTR’s report, or do you think it’s pure fiction? If it is true, would it change your plans on what handset to get? Weigh in below.