It’s a big stretch but here’s their story:
While it has been known for a while that LTE will be rolling out in select markets at some point next year. The most recent roadmap has 20-30 markets as a target for the second half of 2010. But our source says that Verizon is putting just about everything it has in to moving many of these markets up to Q1 2010 — which is the same time frame for this supposed new Apple device. While the source had no information to specifically tie Apple to this move by Verizon, they did note that there was talk of at least one non-dongle (wireless card) product that this LTE launch was being specifically geared towards.
The usual caveats apply. Apple couldn’t make it work like a phone – thus killing the mic on a Verizon/Apple device – because of the AT&T exclusivity arrangement. Also current iPhone hardware won’t work obviously if LTE isn’t rolling in an area yet. Yada Yada.
The question we have is this: Is it really that hard for Apple to build CDMA products? Every other manufacturer (Blackberry, Palm, HTC, etc) seems to be able to throw in a CDMA radio without breaking a sweat. We know that Apple and Verizon talk frequently. Is it that hard to imagine Apple making a run of four million CDMA Tablets? Who knows? They could even make some WiMAX tablets that drop down to 3G when a tower isn’t nearby. They’d sell.
And Apple isn’t stupid. Whatever arrangement they made with AT&T has an out clause. For instance, if the network is next to useless for city dwellers, perhaps Apple should be able to shop the iPhone/Tablet to other carriers. Even if it is only Tmobile.
Apple has said specifically that they aren’t going to make a CDMA iPhone, so I’m inclined to believe that that isn’t going to happen without an act of God. But I think they are going to do the next best things: They are going to make a iPod touch that does everything –except 3G — that the iPhone does, allowing you to make VoIP calls over Wifi and and over 3G devices like Verizon’s Mifi and Sprint’s portable WiMAX routers. They’ll also make a Tablet type computer that will not be tied to AT&T exclusively.
So back to the Verizon LTE stuff. Apple isn’t going to sell a product for an untested, 20-40 city network. LTE isn’t going to be ready for primetime until 2011. Apple has other plans.