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Apple's 2011: A Preview

Verizon iPhone

The Apple developer who screamed "Verizon!" at a bemused Steve Jobs during the iPhone 4 launch may soon get his wish.

Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have been swirling for well over a year -- it's an event that will mark the end of AT&T's (T) exclusive deal to sell the phone in the U.S.

"Everything in our checks is pointing to a February launch of the iPhone at Verizon," Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity told TheStreet. "We think it's going to sell very well and take share from Android."

Canaccord and other analyst firms have recently raised Apple estimates on the strength of a Verizon iPhone. Pacific Crest expects to see the Verizon model sometime in the March quarter and recently hiked its second-quarter iPhone estimate from 12 million to 15.2 million units.

Some analysts think it will arrive later: "While I am not convinced that it's going to be early 2011, I do think it will be [launched] by summer," Bill Kreher, senior technology analyst at Edward Jones, told TheStreet. "It would make sense to announce a CDMA iPhone with the iPhone 5."

Kreher pointed to the June 2010 launch of the iPhone 4 and speculated that Apple may keep to a similar launch schedule in 2011, announcing both the new iPhone and a Verizon deal. "If you look at the typical cadence of the Apple announcements, they announce a Mac refresh in January, iPads in April, iPhones in June and iPods in September," he said. "I don't know that they want to upset that."
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