iPhone 4 to hit Verizon in early 2011; iPhone 5 will sport dual mode GSM/CDMA chip but won't support LTE - Report

Reports are swirling that the iPhone 4 will hit Verizon in early 2011 while the next iPhone refresh will be a "worldphone" equipped with a dual mode GSM/CDMA chip

Once again, rumors of Apple releasing a CDMA enabled iPhone on Verizon are making the rounds - only this time, the rumors seem to be carrying more weight than ever before. Late last week, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported, citing people briefed by Apple, that we can expect to see the iPhone join the ranks of Verizon sometime in early 2011.

Apple plans to begin mass producing the new iPhone by the end of the year, and it would be released in the first quarter of 2011, these people said. The phone would resemble the iPhone 4 currently sold by AT&T, but would be based on an alternative wireless technology used by Verizon, these people said.

Again, rumors of a Verizon/iPhone deal have been recycled endlessly ever since the iPhone first debuted, but given both the WSJ and the NYT's track record regarding Apple rumors, it's no stretch to say that this is the strongest evidence yet that the iPhone will finally break free from the shackles of AT&T.

Now for those of you who closely follow Verizon press releases (anyone? Bueller?), you might have noticed that Verizon is planning to roll out its 4G LTE network across 38 major metropolitan cities in 2011. It's only natural, therefore, to wonder if Apple's iPhone will take advantage of this development.

The answer, in a word, appears to be no.

Apple is reportedly in no rush to implement 4G LTE support on the iPhone due to the fact that the technology is new and that LTE chipsets demand more power and are bulkier - and you know how Apple feels about slim design. Moreover, and this shouldn't be all that surprising given that the original iPhone only worked on Edge, but TechCrunch notes that Apple has no intention of being "the guinea pig on new LTE networks that aren't ready for primetime."

The truth is that 3G networks have many more years of life, and the transition to LTE will be much slower than the carriers want you to believe (LTE doesn’t even have its voice standard fleshed out yet).

Remember, Apple has sold millions of iPhones in spite of AT&T's notorious and frustrating network issues. That said, there's no reason for Apple to jump the gun, and indeed, taking its sweet time is simply part of Apple's DNA. They deliver polished products that work, and unless it's their own, they try and avoid nascent technologies where they're at the mercy of a third party. The last thing Apple wants is to tout the iPhone on Verizon's 4G network only to have it blow up in their face.

Lastly, TechCrunch also that Apple's iPhone refresh in 2011 will sport a dual mode chipset capable of running on both GSM and CDMA networks. The chipset for this supposed worldmode phone will by all accounts be supplied by Qualcomm which has been working on hybrid CDMA/UMTS chips for some time now. And going back to the original story from the WSJ is a buried little nugget of info claiming that the iPhone 5 (which has already been in the works for months now) will sport a varied form factor. All in all, there appear to be a number of significant changes in store for Apple's most lucrative product in the coming months.

Before you know it, the iPhone on Verizon will be a reality and folks will already be contemplating what features users will be clamoring for on the iPhone 5.

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