The iPhone on Verizon: Break My Heart Again, Apple

More Apple rumors say we can expect a Verizon compatible iPhone to be announced in June 2009.

It has been over two years since Apple announced the original iPhone, and Apple fans everywhere are expecting the 3rd generation iPhone to be introduced at next month’s WWDC keynote, or shortly after. Having gone through the five stages of grief, I eventually accepted the fact that while Steve Jobs doesn’t actually hate North Dakota, there was no reason to believe we’d be able to buy and use one in our state anytime soon. Since then, I’ve been a happy user of Verizon’s premium smartphone platform, the Blackberry (the Pearl 8130 to be exact) and have been looking to the upcoming Blackberry Tour as my next phone upgrade.

Rumors of an iPhone on the Verizon network just won’t go away, however. The latest one comes via Scott Bourne on this week’s Macbreak Weekly podcast:

I had a conversation yesterday – on Memorial Day – with an extremely high-up Verizon employee who told me flat out, they are getting an iPhone. …He said as soon as June, it will be announced.

You can listen to Scott’s quote and the ensuing discussion in this trimmed-down audio clip.

Now, there have been rumors of a Verizon iPhone for over a year, going back to when Apple was supposedly hiring CDMA engineers –  a necessity if they were pursuing a Verizon-compatible phone since their network is incompatible with the GSM/HSDPA technology used by AT&T. There has been more chatter about the new partnership lately, however, and after listening to Scott on the podcast for a couple of years, I feel he’s trustworthy. It’s certainly possible that his source isn’t, but I don’t believe he’d pass this rumor onto the Macbreak audience if he didn’t think it sounded plausible.

Not that there aren’t some obvious obstacles for a Verizon iPhone. The different wireless technology is one issue, but it’s a technical one that has been overcome by every other handset maker, including Blackberry, Nokia, Motorola, etc. The bigger issue is the AT&T exclusivity agreement that Apple entered into back in 2007. Outsiders aren’t clear on the terms of the deal and when they expire, but the consensus seems to be 2010. Apple may have found a contract loophole that will allow for a Verizon iPhone, but you can be sure AT&T won’t be happy if it happens.

I’ve heard others in North Dakota wish for AT&T to build out their network in our state, but I don’t think that’s the answer. Sure, it would at least make the iPhone a valid purchase option, but I wouldn’t wish AT&T’s network on anyone. The Macbreak weekly guys again:

Scott: I do have to say, if they get a Verizon phone, I’m so, so, so gone from AT&T.

Alex: I’ll find out what it takes to get rid of it. I hate my AT&T reception. […] The Verizon network is so much more solid than the AT&T network.

And remember, these are guys who live in/near San Francisco and other major population areas. If AT&T can’t get their network right there, I have little hope in them building a statewide network in North Dakota.

So, the Verizon/iPhone combination is the only one that works for North Dakota. I’ll put my phone purchase on hold and watch the June announcements with hope, but I’m prepared to get my heart broken by Apple yet again.

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