A change that big would seem like something Apple would tie to a major device revamp along its traditional June/July timeframe (which would also allow AT&T to deploy some of its own LTE/4G service). However, Verizon could be pushing for an earlier date to capitalize on its current existence as the sole U.S. carrier offering LTE speeds. In the same report, it's speculated that a post-Christmas launch was chosen to allow Apple and AT&T to move as many of the existing iPhone 4 models as possible during the holiday season.
Interestingly enough, the current Verizon LTE USB modems don't offer Mac support. They also don't handle the switch between LTE service and the slower 3G EVDO technology well, requiring up to two minutes for the hand-off to the slower technology to take place when moving out of an LTE service area). While the company is looking into the hand-off issue and is promising Mac support in the future, I would think both issues might make Apple hesitant to announce a partnership until both had been resolved.
In particular, the hand-off issue could be a major problem for smartphone users of any kind. When using a USB modem with a notebook, you're not likely to be moving around a lot (unless in a car or on a train), meaning the issue wouldn't be overly significant. With a smartphone, movement is much more likely and interruptions of service could create more challenges for the user, particularly if location-based services like turn-by-turn navigation are being employed. So, the service may simply not be something that Apple is ready to commit to yet.
Whatever the real story, it certainly seems that Apple and Verizon have developed a much cozier relationship as of late. Verizon is selling Wi-Fi iPad models in its stores (with or without a Verizon MiFi device) and recent job postings on Apple's site mention Verizon specifically for iPad engineering positions as well as iPad-related enterprise sales positions. All of which seems to spell trouble for AT&T and its exclusive, but at times troubled, relationship with Apple.
What's your take? Is Apple about to launch a 4G iPhone or iPad on Verizon? Or is it the same speculation and wishful thinking that's been floating around since the first iPhone was launched on AT&T? Let us here your opinion in the comments