UPDATE: BNet Wired In columnist Erik Sherman guesses where the iPhone will pop up next.
This week Verizon (VZ) Wireless started selling the Wi-Fi only Apple (APPL) iPad with its personal hotspot device, the MiFi. Although it was simply a smart package deal, for many critics it became yet another sign that Verizon was about to get the iPhone. Finally, consumers would be free of AT&T (ATT) and its monopolistic, spotty service!
The iPhone won't be on AT&T forever, but, as I've noted previously, there have been few to no real indicators about where it is going. In fact, based on "reliable sources familiar with the situation", the iPhone should have been on Verizon in 2008, Sprint last summer, and T-Mobile as soon as it started selling the device in Germany three years ago.
Here's a quick refresher on moments we were sure the iPhone was leaving AT&T:
- November 2007: ZDnet: Verizon iPhone WILL be here within a year or so: here's why. Months earlier, Verizon Wireless VP Jim Gerace said it had rejected Apple because it wanted too large a cut of monthly cell phone fees.
- September 2008: 9to5Mac says "Apple will be announcing iPhones for Verizon Wireless in 2009, perhaps as early Macworld 2009."
- April 2009: USA Today says Apple is working with Verizon and Sprint, the deals being a "reversal of fortune" for AT&T. Wall Street Journal says the AT&T exclusivity will end in 2009.
- November 2009: The Street.com reports that iPhone is coming to T-Mobile, because notably, it says, Apple already sells phones through Germany's T-Mobile unit.
- March 2010: WSJ says two new iPhones are coming, one likely going to Verizon
- May 2010: Several major blogs report a anonymous tip from a Best Buy (BBY) employee in Pennsylvania. Displays for the "Sprint iPhone" should be up in a week.
- June 2010: Wall Street Journal says the Apple iPhone is coming soon to T-Mobile or Verizon, but more likely T-Mobile because it could attract attention to Deutsche Telekom's spinoff of T-Mobile USA.
- July 2010: Steve Jobs mentions offhand that reception is good on Apple's campus because of AT&T and Verizon cell towers. It is taken as morse code.
- September 2010: MSNBC: Apple readying iPhone for Verizon and ZDNet: "Apple is reportedly making CDMA iPhones for some carrier. But that carrier doesn't appear to be Verizon Wireless. That leaves Sprint as a new iP."
- October 2010: WSJ says "AT&T Inc. is about to lose its lock on the iPhone" and Apple will make a "Verizon-Ready iPhone" by year's end.