Verizon iPhone: What Do We Actually Know?

VIDEO: Apple will produce a variation of the smart phone for Verizon

The mythical Verizon iPhone. Though no official will confirm that it exists, it's still one of the most buzzed about topics in the blogosphere.

In late September, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg downplayed the possibility of an iPhone joining his network anytime soon, suggesting the company would wait for an iPhone that could run on its new fourth-generation network. But in recent weeks, the reports of a near-term fantasy phone have returned to center stage.

Citing anonymous sources, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported in early October that Apple would release a Verizon-compatible version of the iPhone in early 2011. About a week later, the tech companies added more fuel to the fire when they announced that Verizon would start selling Apple's iPad. Since then, the rumors have continued to roll out.

But without official confirmation from either company (Verizon declined to comment for this story and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment), what can we actually believe to be true?

Analyst: 'Smart Guesses' on Early 2011 for Verizon iPhone Arrival

Sascha Segan, an analyst for PCMag, warned that when it comes to the Web's most storied cell phone, no one knows anything about anything.

"Nobody really knows when -- or even if -- it is coming or what it will look like or what it will do. It's all speculation," he said. "So take everything anyone says with a grain of salt because we're all guessing."

That said, he added, industry insiders aren't entirely without clues about what's in store for the iPhone's future and when it might join the Verizon family.

"Most of the smart guesses are on early 2011," Segan said.

In the past year, a healthy crop of Android phones have hit the market, placing pressure on Apple to get more of its iPhones in customers' hands.

"The reason Apple is probably more aggressive about getting the iPhone on to other carriers than they used to be is because of the massive sales of Android phones over the past year," he said.

Verizon Presents Big Opportunity for Apple

Analysts expect Verizon to announce a new class of phones at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, that can run on its new fourth-generation network. But Segan said Verizon will likely not introduce an iPhone then, as a third-generation iPhone might look less impressive next to the other 4G phones.

He added that Verizon could announce the iPhone in December and then make it available after the new year or wait until later in January.

Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, said he feels certain that the iPhone will move to other carriers in 2011, but said he'd expected it to emerge a little later in the year.

"[There's a] 75 percent chance that it comes in June and a 25 percent chance that it comes in January," he said, adding that, if he were a betting man, he'd say that there's a 100 percent chance of a new carrier offering the iPhone by the end of June.

While he doesn't know for sure that Verizon will be that new carrier, he said that given the size of the opportunity Verizon presents, Verizon is the likely candidate.

"Apple is elephant hunting and Verizon is the elephant," he said.

Verizon iPhone Might Not Allow Simultaneous Voice and Data Services

Munster said that if the new iPhone emerges in June it would be Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 (Apple traditionally announces iPhones in June and analysts don't expect next year to be any different).

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