Is the iPhone Coming to Verizon?

Whoa, folks, the week's barely started and already we have some big tech news. According to "people familiar with the situation," USA Today writes that Verizon and Apple have been in "high level" talks for months about developing an iPhone for the Verizon network. Although Verizon's 80 million customers would make an iPhone deal pretty attractive to Apple, this news flies in the face of Apple CEO Tim Clark's comments last week. Cook stated that Apple would keep its iPhone exclusive to AT&T, calling it the "best wireless provider in the U.S."

AT&T's contract with Apple gives it exclusive rights to distribute the iPhone in the U.S. through 2010, but it sounds like we could be seeing a Verizon iPhone in 2011. As far as mobile data accessibility (e.g. surfing the Web, checking Facebook, and using e-mail), Verizon's CDMA network offers slower speeds than AT&T's 3G network. Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen, told USA Today that, despite the speed difference, Verizon's CDMA network is perceived as more reliable than AT&T's 3G network. (Either way, we think 3G is overrated, speed-wise.)

AT&T stands to lose the most if Apple ends up in bed with Verizon, because many potential customers love the iPhone but are either disappointed by AT&T or already have a contract with another carrier. Customers could be the big winners here, since Apple is likely to continue selling iPhones on the AT&T network, finally giving customers the option to choose a carrier. [From: USA Today via Engadget]