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An iPhone on Verizon? We've heard these rumors before

March 30, 2010 |  5:01 pm

Steve-jobs It's that time of the year again. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, kids cheering and rumors about the iPhone finally going over to Verizon Wireless.

Every year, it seems, in advance of Apple's summer unveiling of its new cellphone we get a fresh batch of reports that Verizon will carry the iPhone, thus breaking AT&T's monopoly on the device.

With Verizon being the top U.S. carrier and the Apple phone being the most requested mobile device, it's no mystery that such news would strike a chord -- whether or not it's true. And so far, it hasn't been.

The Wall Street Journal was the one to fire up the perennial rumor mill this week. An article the newspaper published online Monday confirmed that a new iPhone is in the works (duh) and that Apple "appears to be working on a model for U.S. mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless."

A later version of the story hedged, instead saying that Apple appears to be working on a CDMA-compatible phone that could work on either Verizon or Sprint. Regardless, the story sent AT&T's stock down, as the Journal was quick to point out.

Funny. Responding to rumors less than a year ago, the Journal's Digits blog wrote:

It would be odd, at best, for Apple to invest in a CDMA phone that has limited distribution now and will work on a network that is being phased out in the next 12 to 18 months. In a recent earnings call, Apple COO Tim Cook noted that CDMA has a limited lifespan, and Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg told The Wall Street Journal that he didn’t think Apple ever intended to make a CDMA phone.

What the Journal was addressing then was a report in USA Today last April saying that Apple was breaking ties with AT&T and "discussing the possible development of an iPhone for Verizon."

What else do we have here?

In October, Computerworld reported on analysts' predictions in a story headlined "Verizon-iPhone deal less likely after Google move." A month later, the publication is jumping on a report about Apple readying a smaller iPhone for Verizon.

CNNMoney.com's Brainstorm Tech blog reported on a rumor in 2008 that a Verizon iPhone would launch in 2009. A year later, the rumor was that it would arrive in 2010. Two months later, it was expected to launch the following week -- when Apple ended up unveiling the iPad and another deal with AT&T.

Then there was the Street reporting that Apple and Verizon would team up on the "Apple Tablet" (iPad). Nope. A month after that, the Street swung back to the Verizon iPhone rumors saying its arrival would be "delayed" til 2011.

ZDNet told us "Verizon iPhone WILL be here within a year or so." That was in 2007.

So what did we get out of this week's rumors? Well, we got noted Apple commentator John Gruber chiming in on his blog with a helping of skepticism. And, of course, tossing more fuel onto the fire.

"And they have no actual details of the next-generation iPhone," Gruber wrote about the Journal's story. "Not the A4-family CPU system-on-a-chip. Not the 960 × 640 double-resolution display. Not the second front-facing camera. Not even the third-party multitasking in iPhone OS 4."

Here we go again.

-- Mark Milian
twitter.com/markmilian

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs -- only he knows. Credit: Associated Press

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