[Editorial] The Current State of the Verizon iPhone

At the time of this article, we are a day away from Verizon Wireless announcing their first 4G phones.  Speculation has run wild in the last year concerning an Apple iPhone coming to Verizon in early 2011.  Everyone, media-wise, seems to have input on the issue, and has for some time (with a poor track record of success).  The inevitability of an iPhone for Verizon is indisputable.  Everything else about it, however, is.

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There has been speculation about a Verizon iPhone since 2006, the year before the device was actually announced and later launched.  Over the past four or so years, speculation always seems to come back around to the phone launching on Verizon at some point.  Understandable, considering the apparent high demand for an iPhone on the Verizon network.  When enough people want something to happen, speculation about it happening is quick to follow.

In time, clues arise, seemingly confirming some or all speculations.  In 2010, rumors had Apple making a CDMA (Verizon-compatible) device through most of the year.  Each rumor was punctuated by some inside - yet unnamed, unconfirmed, and somehow reliable - source.  If rumor is to believed, the phone should be announced tomorrow at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) when Verizon announces it’s soon-to-be-launched 4G LTE devices.

But what happens if the phone is not announced?

Nothing changes, unfortunately.  Like all Verizon iPhone rumors, as one never materializes, another takes its place.  And another.  And another.  By June, we’ll be reading new rumors about a July launch.  Or, by the end of the year, we’ll be reading rumors similar to the ones we’ve been sifting through these last few months.

That’s not to say that it won’t happen.  At some point, both Apple and Verizon Wireless will get off their high horses and actually form a deal.  But since both have seemed unwilling to budge on what they want from an iPhone deal, nothing ever happens.  There’s a chance that a phone IS announced tomorrow, but the likelihood of that seems slim.  They haven’t been able to accomplish much in four years.  None of the rumors seem to have come true.  And since rumors fall short time and time again, it becomes hard to believe that the day Verizon Wireless and Apple say they’re finally launching an iPhone on that network will ever come.

This cycle of rumor and failure to deliver have worn down many of us in the industry.  The rumors even inspired one of the fundamental precepts of PhoneCan - that of focusing more on facts and helping people rather than rumor and guesses.  Many of us look forward to the day that Verizon sells an iPhone.  Not for the sales.  Not to get one for ourselves.  But so we can finally be done with the nonsense that surrounds this issue.

I honestly hope that Verizon announces an iPhone tomorrow.  I also highly doubt it will happen.  If it happens, I can rest easy.  We can start looking forward to specifications and a launch date.  We can get ready for the onslaught of customers looking for the device.  When a customer asks (as they do almost hourly), “When is Verizon getting the iPhone?"  I can give them an answer.

But most likely, I will continue to respond with, “some day, maybe.”