|More iPhone News Apple iPhone Gets Wal-Mart Cheap|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The buzz around a Verizon ( VZ) iPhone has gotten louder, but the signs are not green for go. Apple ( AAPL) is set to pull back the curtain on its new 'HD' iPhone on June 7. And while observers and Apple fans have high expectations for the newly redesigned fourth-generation iPhone, there may be a considerable let down for those waiting for word of a Verizon iPhone. AT&T's iPhone exclusivity deal with Apple will end some day, but don't expect to hear a word of it during Apple chief Steve Jobs' upcoming extolment of the newest "greatest" version of the iPhone.
Analysts familiar with Apple's iPhone supply and manufacturing partners say a CDMA version of the phone is scheduled for a modest production this year. This has caused a great deal of speculation around just which CDMA carrier would be getting the iPhone, especially since Verizon is a CDMA shop. But while a Verizon iPhone seems inevitable, observers say it is highly unlikely that Apple would undercut its partner AT&T during the new iPhone showcase event June 7. That moment may come later this year. "It looks like Apple is planning to have full carrier support by fall," says Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, who has surveyed Apple's supply chain partners. But Kumar says a Verizon iPhone is more likely to debut in 2011.
With 90 million customers, Verizon represents one of the last, huge untapped markets that would help sustain the massive growth pace of Apple's iPhone. That fact alone makes a Verizon iPhone seem inevitable and it has analysts trying to draw conclusions from a confusing set of signals. On Monday, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall tried to connect a few dots. He wrote that Verizon's gear suppliers enjoyed big first quarter gains suggesting that the telco is beefing up its network for some heavy traffic. He also pointed out that AT&T jacked up its early termination fine to $325 from $175 for iPhone customers who try to tear up their contracts as of June 1. To Hall, these two developments spell Verizon iPhone. But even Hall isn't expecting to hear a peep about it during the June 7 Apple developers' conference. He writes, "I consider it much more likely that news will come sometime in third quarter." --Written by Scott Moritz in New York