updated 04:25 pm EDT, Fri May 7, 2010
Odd rumors point to early Verizon iPhone with LTE
An unusual rumor this afternoon has a Verizon-ready iPhone shipping in the summer. Multiple Verizon staffers and other sources claim the CDMA iPhone would not only be ready in the summer but that it could be a launch device for the availability of Verizon's 4G network. While questionable, the Engadget details are billed as "surprisingly specific."
It would most likely be a hybrid phone with both 4G as well as CDMA and 3G if real, as Verizon doesn't plan to cover more than 25 to 30 cities with LTE on launch.
The launch of such a phone would contradict some of the both rumored and official statements surrounding both 4G and a Verizon iPhone. The most credible rumor for a CDMA iPhone so far has put production in the fall, and the first known LTE phone to be shipping would be a Samsung device for Metro PCS in the same season. Leaks of the iPhone so far have only shown what should be a regular GSM version.
Verizon itself has pushed back the full-scale deployment of its 4G to fall this year and has said it doesn't realistically anticipate its first 4G smartphone until early 2011. LTE chipsets so far consume a relatively large amount of space and power, and current implementations only handle data. Voice over LTE hasn't been finalized as a standard.
If at all real, the Verizon iPhone is likely to have a disruptive effect on other phones. HTC's Droid Incredible has had the luxury of a relatively unimpeded lead in Verizon's lineup and would face competition even from a phone without 4G. One with LTE would be severely damaging to Sprint, whose HTC Evo 4G is being marketed as the first 4G phone in the US.