Let me apologize in advance for writing yet another article about the Verizon iPhone. If the Verizon event tomorrow is actually the launch of an iPhone on Verizon’s network I am personally very interested to the answers to several major questions that loom in my mind. The answers to these questions will be for me an indicator of the relationship between Apple and Verizon.
Will any Apple executive be on stage for any part of the presentation?
I will admit, when I first got the email from Verizon inviting us to be in NY next Tuesday I quickly dismissed the thought that it could be the launch of an iPhone on Verizon’s network. The reason? Because this is not usually the way Apple does things. This would be one of the things you would think that Apple would want total control of yet this is a Verizon event not an Apple event.
I then changed my mind after a number of things happened. First was when I recalled the rumor we at SlashGear covered that morning highlighting employee blackouts at Verizon and Apple for the end of the month through February. Second was the Wall Street Journal article claiming the imminent release of the device at the end of January. The WSJ made this claim due to a highly trusted un-named source that confirmed the launch date of Jan 30th in Verizon stores. Third and the clincher for me was when no Gizmodo writer was invited in the face of the fact that they have not missed a Verizon event in the past three years.
Now to the question I led off with. I am betting Steve Jobs will not be there, I will personally be shocked if he is. The next logical person is Phil Schiller and if no one is there I feel Apple’s absence will say a great deal about their relationship with Verizon. More on that when this question gets answered.
Will it have LTE?
Per the coverage by the select few Apple took for a tour of their labs showing how the test their antennae and device designs, those who went on the tour shared with us that Apple told them they test devices in development up to two years in advance of said devices release date. Apple also told those in attendance that they have an AT&T and Verizon tower on top of their building. So it then stands to reason that in order for this device to have LTE, Apple would have to have had LTE implementations on their campus in order to sufficiently test the devices antennae and design / performance.
If it does in fact have LTE and the launch date is at the end of the month as has been reported, then the device may not be the first Verizon LTE device announced but it will be the first one available.
Will there be a Verizon Logo on the device?
If in fact tomorrow is the release of the iPhone on Verizon I firmly believe that Apple wanted to launch it prior to CES. The reason I feel is obvious. The news would have been the talk of CES and it would have overshadowed many of the cool devices launched by Verizon and their partners last week at CES. If I am right, and Verizon had enough influence to push the date around their schedule not Apple’s, then Verizon has more power in this relationship than AT&T. If again this happens to be be true then does Verizon have enough sway in this relationship to get their logo on the iPhone? No Apple product has a logo other than Apple’s and my guess is that it will stay that way and Verizon’s logo will not show up on the device hardware.
What will it be named?
I truly feel the numerical naming scheme on Apple’s iPhone has come to an end. The iPhone 4 I think - and hope - is that last device with a number after its name, primarily because the name “iPhone 5” does not roll of the tongue well. I am guessing this device, if it has LTE will be named the iPhone 4G. If it does not have LTE it will simply still be the iPhone 4. Either way, I don’t believe this device is the “next” major iPhone release. What I mean by that is I don’t think this device will look or feel any different than the iPhone 4.
Which then begs another series of questions about when Apple does bring out the “next” iPhone, meaning the latest and greatest. Questions like which network will it be available on? Will it be launched on both at the same time? If so, will those who bought this new Verizon device be severely disappointed that their iPhone is now outdated less then 6 months after they purchased it?
Now, please keep in mind I could be completely wrong about all of this. Verizon may not even be launching an iPhone tomorrow. Even if they do, I could completely be overthinking this whole thing. So forgive me; I am an analyst by trade and at heart so I tend to do that sometimes.