Verizon iPhone Coming This Year?

Every year I clamor for the release of the iPhone for Verizon Wireless.  In my opinion the iPhone is one of (if not) the best smartphone currently available.  The only other phone that I feel comes close to the quality of the iPhone is either the Nexus One or HTC Inredible - both running the Android Operating System.

In case you missed the huge hullabaloo, Gizmodo (a tech blog), managed to get their hands on a prototype (but near-final) version of the next-generation iPhone.  You can see their complete picture walk-through and analysis on their website.  The windstorm of activity that followed this story is one that I don't even want to attempt to summarize - but I'm going to anyways:  Gizmodo paid to get exclusive access to this found next-gen iPhone and now whispers and rumors of legal action are swirling.  Fun times for all.

Last year, before the iPhone 3GS was announced, I was hoping against hope that 2009 would be the year that Verizon got the iPhone.  Not only do I love Verizon's cellular reception (after all, the iPhone is a phone at the end of the day), but it also makes great economic sense for me.  I'm currently on a family plan with Verizon and to go lone-wolf with AT&T for the iPhone would be an unnecessary burden on my wallet.

So over the past few days I've been hearing and reading more and more news-reports on the apparently increased probability that this is the year that the iPhone is offered on Verizon.  Take in mind: these same reports happened last year to no effect.  There is no reason why this year should be any different, but I do know that getting an iPhone (on Verizon) will complement my recent purchase of an iPad.

Recently confirmed by Engadget (another tech blog):

But we've been doing some digging and we can now confirm that Apple and AT&T entered into a five-year iPhone exclusive in 2007, based on court documents filed by Apple in California. ... Now, this all went down in October of 2008, and while it's sort of amazing we hadn't seen it earlier, the real question is whether or not the exclusivity deal is still on the books. (The case is ongoing, but most of the relevant bits have been under seal since 2009.) Contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, and AT&T's spotty recent service history plus the explosion of the iPhone and the mobile market in general have given Apple any number of reasons to revisit the deal.
Interesting, no?  However, the beam of hope found in the second paragraph may be merely conjecture and nothing more.  Sure, contracts are revised but it doesn't mean that is the case here.

Over at Crunchgear they've unearthed this rumor:

The rumor mill is churning about a company called Landor Associates “working on an advertising campaign” for Verizon for the upcoming iPhone ...... Ladnor has been working on Verizon branding since 2007 and is, according to a tipster, now hard at work preparing for the iPhone HD launch. The Verizon team there is led by Brad Scott.
Now that sounds like almost a sure thing.  And it makes sense that the leak would come from an ad agency, rather than from Apple.  However I found these two choice comments at MacRumors:
Why would Verizon have an ad agency working to brand the iPhone? Hasn't Apple always insisted on doing it themselves?

......

Good point... though it may be those "Get iphone data plan for only $29.99 with Verizon" or something like that.

So one comment that disproves the validity of this rumor with another confirming its validity.

Last but not least is another post from Engadget that really got my heart racing.  It includes the highly fanciful notion that the iPhone for Verizon will be a hybrid 3G/4G network phone.  What this would mean is that in places with coverage the iPhone would hop onto the 4G wireless data network and be capable of far superior speeds, and in places with only 3G coverage it would work just as fluidly.

There really isn't a way to predict what is going to happen.  Like everyone else I'm going to have to wait and see what happens in June when the next iPhone is announced.  I hope Verizon gets it this year, but really I won't be too upset if I am forced to use the also amazing HTC Incredible.  In an attempt to create a meme:  Till June!