The paper reports that Apple (AAPL) is prepping two new models of its wildly popular smart-phone for release this summer, and one could be ready for use on Verizon Wireless's CDMA network. That would end three years of AT&T (T) iPhone exclusivity.
Speculation has raged almost since the iPhone's launch that a Verizon Wireless model would come eventually. Verizon is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. and has been particularly aggressive in marketing phones based on Google's Android operating system.
All About Apple vs. Android
Apple and Google are locked in an increasingly bitter war over the smart-phone market. Apple is "probably not keen on allowing Android to monopolize the smartphone market among customers tethered to Verizon," TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid observes.
Reuters quoted an AT&T spokesperson saying: "We have a great relationship with Apple and we don't comment on the specifics of that relationship." Both Apple and Verizon Wireless refused comment for the Associated Press.
The WSJ adds:
The people briefed on the matter said one of the new iPhones is being manufactured by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which produced Apple's previous iPhones. The model that has CDMA capability, used by Verizon Wireless, is being manufactured by Pegatron Technology Corp., the contract manufacturing subsidiary of Taiwan's ASUSTeK Computer Inc., said these people.
One person familiar with the situation said Pegatron is scheduled to start mass-producing the CDMA iPhones in September, but it was unclear when Apple might make the model available.
Spokespeople for Apple, Pegatron, Hon Hai and Verizon Wireless, which is majority owned by Verizon Communications Inc., declined to comment.
CDMA is a U.S. wireless technology adopted by Verizon, Sprint Corp. and a handful of operators in countries including South Korea and Japan. The vast majority of carriers worldwide -- including Apple's longtime U.S. iPhone partner AT&T Inc. -- base their networks on the GSM standard.
"There has been lots of incorrect speculation on CDMA iPhones for a long time. We haven't seen one yet and only Apple knows when that might occur," said an AT&T spokesman.