Verizon’s President and COO Lowell McAdam is due to present the “latest news” from his company tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. EST at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, “Home of Jazz” in New York. So say a number of specific invitations that have gone out to key tech press figures recently, and Verizon is being particularly mercurial about the details of the event and in the ticket allocation–the invitations are “not transferable and should not be posted or shared.”
Such a level of secrecy is typical of a top-line Apple event, even while there’s no specific mention of Apple here. The tech media instantly jumped to the conclusion that it was finally time for Verizon to unveil its iPhone, ending years of speculation.
All that speculation came to an end when the Wall Street Journal leaped into the fray with a piece titled “Verizon Finally Lands the iPhone” which confidently asserted “The iPhone is finally coming to Verizon Wireless. The largest U.S. wireless carrier will make the long-awaited announcement at an event Tuesday.” While the article is still essentially speculative, we have long suspected that Apple uses the WSJ as an official(ish) leak valve, which means the news is about as convincingly true as any rumor can ever be.
Further confirmation the event is what we think it is comes from the fact that journalists from influential tech blog Gizmodo appear not to have been invited. Gizmodo seems to be on an Apple blacklist after controversially leaking the design of last year’s iPhone 4 far ahead of an official release.
Verizon Hosting an Apple Event? Yes, But Steve Jobs Will Be There
Some thinkers doubted that the Verizon press event was an iPhone-related one as they argued it’s unusual for Apple to let a partner host such a big-news event.
This argument is spurious for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that this isn’t actually big news from Apple’s point of view. Sure, the company is based in the U.S., its long-standing exclusivity agreement with AT&T has been controversial from a legal and service-quality standpoint, and access to the U.S.’s largest wireless provider will undoubtedly lead to tens of millions of more sales of the iPhone almost instantly. But Apple is a global firm like it never has been before, and well over 50% of iPhones are sold overseas–Apple’s market in China or Europe potentially dwarfs the U.S. one. And assuming the device is a back-engineered iPhone 4 with compatibility for Verizon’s eccentric CDMA 3G standard built in, it’s technologically something of an oddity for Apple, which prefers to sell one standard device to everyone.
Plus, well-connected journalists at AllThingsD then hinted that Steve Jobs could indeed join Verizon’s McAdam on stage, and that pretty much seals the deal–an official stamp of approval from SJ himself.
Another subtle hint all this is true? Verizon’s now tweeting its official company tweets from “Twitter for iPhone,” whereas previously it used a web engine. It’s not concrete proof by any means, but added to the list of rumors it’s another big tick.
We’re pretty confident that the phone that will be revealed tomorrow will be an iPhone 4 with modified innards to support the CDMA 3G standard Verizon uses–it’s a longshot that Apple will embrace the 4G LTE tech that Verizon is beginning to roll-out, simply because it’s not available to all Verizon users yet, and the chips needed to support the system aren’t yet fully mature tech (a prime worry when you’re talking about the physical size and power-consumption constraints the jam-packed iPhone 4’s innards imply).
The one question is will the ViPhone be merely a tweaked iPhone 4, or actually that leaked chassis we saw the other day which implies some antenna modifications have been made to the iPhone 4’s design in the wake of Antennagate. It’s possible we’ll see this new chassis tomorrow, not only because it incorporates some subtle changes that mean Verizon could sell its own brand of cases and peripherals (guaranteeing it a degree of control over the handset experience that the company seems to relish)–and that the same chassis will be inside the upcoming iPhone 5, which will presumably have updated tech inside.
Unlimited Data to Hit AT&T Where it Hurts?
One final wrinkle to the story are reports that Verizon will accompany its iPhone launch with an unlimited data plan, possibly for only around $30 per month. That will be a huge temptation for AT&T users to quit their network for Verizons–since AT&T stopped supplying unlimited plans some time ago. This has prompted speculation that Verizon could snatch many ex-AT&T subscribers (around 6 million?) in a projected haul of 9 to 12 million total U.S. subscribers throughout 2011 (although a Verizon iPhone isn’t necessarily a panacea to heal U.S. iPhone user woes).
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