Verizon iPhone/iPad announcement could come before Valentine's Day

More reports on Apple's plans for a Verizon iPhone (and maybe an iPad) point to an announcement in the next couple of months.

Not a day goes by without some report or rumor about the relationship between Apple and Verizon. The most recent tidbit to emerge came from Businessweek yesterday afternoon. In a piece on the challenges that a Verizon iPhone would pose for AT&T, Businessweek cited “a person familiar with Apple's plans who is not authorized to discuss them publicly” as saying that Apple will announce a deal with Verizon sometime in the coming months, possibly before Valentine’s Day. The announcement will be made at one of Apple’s characteristic media events and not at CES next week.

This tracks with the overall assumption from various sources that Apple and Verizon would announce the deal sometime early in 2011, though it offers a somewhat more specific timeframe. It also plays into how Apple will likely handle the announcement.

Despite speculation that Apple would allow Verizon to make an announcement on their own at CES, that would be very unlike Apple. The company has taken to hosting its own media events to build hype for announcements as well as to avoid stories about each getting buried among a series of announcements from competitors. That strategy has worked very well for Apple and I wouldn’t expect to see them change it for Verizon (or anyone else).

The post-CES/pre-Valentine’s Day timeframe also makes sense for a couple of other reasons. First, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona kicks off on Valentine’s Day. That gives Apple five weeks to build hype and dominate the tech and mobile news between the two events.

Second, this is the same time period when Apple unveiled the iPad last year. If the company opts to stick with a year to year iPad release (as it does with the iPhone and iPod lines), then an announcement of a next generation iPad would logically fall into the same period. I can see an event where Steve Jobs unveils one of these products followed by his signature “one more thing” style of surprising an audience with the other.

That brings me to another point about Apple’s relationship with Verizon: the speculation of a CDMA iPad. Verizon already sells the Wi-Fi iPad models in its stores (optionally bundled with a Verizon MiFi card). If Apple is cozying up to Verizon, then announcing both an iPhone and iPad for sale by Verizon is only logical, particularly given another recent report (this one from Digitimes) that claims the next iPad 3G models will ship in both the current GSM/UMTS variation as well as a separate CDMA model (as opposed to a dual mode model that can use either mobile technology).

Interestingly, this report didn’t mention an LTE model that could use Verizon’s new 4G service. That’s a bit surprising given the drastically faster performance of LTE over Verizon’s 3G EVDO network and an earlier report that the first Verizon iPhone might be an LTE phone.

For now, we’ll have to wait for Apple to send out its tantalizing media event invitations before we know exactly when the event will be. If Businessweek’s source is right, however, we won’t have too long to wait.

Ryan Faas writes about personal technology for ITworld. Learn more about Faas' published works and training and consulting services at www.ryanfaas.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanfaas.

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