More details appear to be leaking out of a potential blockbuster deal between iPhone maker Apple and Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest carrier. A day after USA Today reported that the two companies were in talks, BusinessWeek reported the companies are considering a partnership to bring two "iPhone-like" devices to Verizon. Citing unnamed sources, BusinessWeek said the gadgets could include a smaller, less expensive calling device similar to the iPhone that has been dubbed "iPhone Lite," as well as a media pad that would let users consume music, photos and videos and would use a WiFi connection. The report says one of the devices may come out this summer, but does not specify which one.
If true, the news is notable since neither gadget is an iPhone. Thus, the devices would allow Apple and Verizon to work together and not run afoul of Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T Mobility for the iPhone, which is scheduled to run into 2010, but which AT&T is said to be trying to extend until 2011. According to the BusinessWeek report, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said that he met with Steve Jobs within the past six months, but he did not disclose what the two discussed.
The latest news follows a USA Today report yesterday that indicated Apple was working on a CDMA version of the iPhone. However, that does not mesh with recent comments from Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg, in which he indicated that Apple never seriously considered making a CDMA version of the iPhone because of the technology's limited global reach compared with GSM. He said Apple would probably be more willing to work with Verizon once the carrier switched over to LTE.
Verizon is set to make its first LTE deployments later this year, with expanded deployments coming in 2010.
- see this BusinessWeek article
- see this summary of the rumors
- see this analysis
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