Verizon LTE + iPhone = iPhone 4G?

Chances are looking better for a Verizon iPhone, and that could mean the first version of the handset to run on a 4G network

If the Apple iPhone doesn't migrate soon to Verizon Wireless, the world will spin off its axis. Those 2012 doomsday predictions will come true. Antidepressant usage among iPhone-craving Verizon customers will rise exponentially.

Well, you can stop worrying and put back the pills. Because after months of rumors, rumblings, and rants, including this week's vaguely sourced scooplet from Bloomberg, it almost seems like a done deal: The iPhone will at long last shake off the shackles of AT&T exclusivity and come to Verizon.

It's Coming

If, like me, you adhere to the where-there's-smoke-there's-a-better-data-network philosophy, there are valid reasons to believe the Verizon iPhone rumors. After all, tech analysts, often the source of these reports, get their information from industry and supply chain insiders. So let's jump ahead and assume the Verizon iPhone is going to happen sometime next year. And given Verizon's upcoming launch of its new LTE 4G data network, it's conceivable that the carrier's first Apple handset could very well be a 4G-capable device. (The new iPhone 4 runs on AT&T's 3G network.)

IDC mobile phone analyst Ramon Llamas also spots a possible convergence between the iPhone and Verizon's 4G. "Am I saying the iPhone will be LTE? I'm not a hundred percent sure," he says. "But the timing says to me that it's possible."

Faster, Better

An iPhone 4G--or whatever moniker Steve Jobs and his marketing gurus select--would no doubt prove a media bonanza for both companies. What better handset than the trend-setting iPhone to showcase Verizon's super-fast LTE network, which the carrier says is delivering downstream speeds of 8.55M bps in some tests?

As for Apple, a 4G data network might unleash many of the iPhone's dormant capabilities. Example: the new FaceTime video chat feature, currently limited to iPhone 4 models connected to Wi-Fi networks, might be freed to operate via LTE as well, thereby allowing video chats in many more situations.

There's a potential scheduling problem, however. The timing of Verizon's LTE rollout, slated for a late 2010, doesn't jive with Apple's annual iPhone launch, which dictates that a new model shall appear every summer.

Apple could rush an LTE-ready iPhone to market, but that's not Cupertino's style. "Using history as our guide, it seems that every June is the time for the new Apple iPhone to roll out," says Llamas.

Of course, since AT&T also plans to roll out its own LTE network next year, the iPhone 4G could debut simultaneously on both AT&T and Verizon. Ah, the possibilities.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

This story, "Verizon LTE + iPhone = iPhone 4G?" was originally published by PCWorld .

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