updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue June 29, 2010
Verizon iPhone may kick off 2011
A pair of sources claimed Tuesday that the Verizon iPhone would ship in January 2011. The tipsters to Bloomberg didn't mention whether it would support voice over EVDO or otherwise differentiate from the GSM version apart from the choice of network.
Most talk surrounding the phone has had production start in August or September to build up enough supply for the launch. Some have put the launch in November, but that may depend on Apple's ability to build up enough supply even as it caters to existing customers.
Although the original iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T was due to end in 2012, Apple is increasingly believed to have negotiated an early end to the term. Why this was may never be known, but the switch to a subsidized iPhone, an exclusive on the iPad or complaints about AT&T service levels may have cut the deal short. AT&T is thought by many to be aware of the shortened length, as it recently decided both to hike its early cancellation fees and offer full upgrade pricing to every iPhone buyer with 2010 eligibility; together, they would encourage customers to renew contracts and scare them away from Verizon next year.
Any iPhone launch on Verizon is expected to trigger a major surge in demand that could add millions of extra sales to Apple's bottom line once sold.