Verizon's recent “Droid does” ads are probably the most pointedly anti-iPhone pieces of advertising out there. This has led some people to theorize that Big Red has given up all hope of ever carrying the iPhone, instead choosing to focus their efforts on the Droid line. In the current climate, the idea of a Verizon iPhone certainly seems a little preposterous. And yet, if AppleInsider's sources are correct, that's just what's headed our way next year.
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The blog has received a report from an industry analyst with OTR Global which states that Apple is hard at work developing a “worldmode” iPhone. This device would be smaller than the iPhone, with a screen of just 2.8”, but would be compatible with both CDMA2000 networks and UMTS 3G networks. The report claims that this universal functionality will be made possible thanks to a new hybrid chip from Qualcomm.
I want to stress that there has been no independent verification of this rumor. A new, universally compatible iPhone would be a brilliant business move by Apple, but that doesn't mean it's happening. No manufacturer has ever built a smartphone designed to work on all carriers worldwide. Of course, there's always room for a first. Such a device would allow Apple to expand their market share by leaps and bounds, starting (OTR claims) with Verizon in Q3 2010.
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Despite their anti-iPhone ads and newfound love for Android, I have no trouble believing Verizon would go along with this. The iPhone is the single most successful smartphone in the world, turning it down would mean turning their back on tens of millions of sales. That doesn't mean this is happening (iPhone rumors are and always will be a dime a dozen), but the idea is plausible.
There have been an unusual rash of iPhone rumors over the last few days. While this 'worldwide iPhone' seems to be a different product than the iPhone 4G we've heard so much about the sheer proximity of both rumors could mean something. Whether that 'something' is Apple gearing up for another big release, or the rumor mill spinning wild again remains to be seen.