Verizon iPhone Finally Launches

Based on three huge pieces of information that fell into place today, we have now have a timeline for the launch of the iPhone.

1. Boy Genius Report broke the scoop about the Apple employee vacation blackout around 2/3. This 3 week employee holiday blackout only occurs for a major product launch ie iPad, new iPhone. The only product that fits this time window is a CDMA iPhone 4. No other candidate makes sense.  BGR is very solid site when it comes to cellphone news, so that looks like a solid launch date.

2. Then, the bombshell lands. Verizon sends out an invitation to the tech media for a special post CES event in New York for January 11th. Now as Tech Crunch points out if further evidence is needed,

“Well, for one thing, I don’t typically get invites directly from Verizon to anything. At least not that I can recall. They usually send those directly to the MobileCrunch and CrunchGear guys. But this invite appears to very specifically be for me — it’s non-transferable. Would Verizon send me such an invite unless it was specially about Apple?
But that’s the other thing. Would it be Verizon and not Apple running such a high-profile show? And would they do it in New York City instead of near Apple’s home base in Silicon Valley? Certainly someone from Apple would have to be there — and you’d think it would be Steve Jobs. But there’s no mention of Apple at all on the invite.
So what is Verizon inviting me to exactly? Is it some silly USB card or the iPhone 4 on Verizon? I don’t know. But color me intrigued.
Update: Jim Dalrymple of The Loop (which exclusively covers Apple) confirms that he got the same invite. Something is definitely up.”

So Verizon is inviting the Apple tech media for an event. 1 +1 =2.

3. The Wall Street Journal states that Apple/Verizon will be announcing the CDMA iPhone on January 11. WSJ is Apple’s go to leak source.

So what is going to happen on 1/11

CDMA iPhone 4 will be announced. It’s going to be extremely similar to the iPhone 4 with a possible modification to the outside aluminum band. This modification to the antenna arrangement may also show up in the GMS iPhone 4 starting on 2/3

Pricing will be similar to AT&T for the hardware as it appears that Verizon has agreed to Apple’s terms to prevent T-Mobile and Sprint from getting the iPhone. Bill plans will probably be similar to AT&T. Although a cheaper data plan with more data from Verizon is a good bet as well as some competition on voice plans as well. All good news for customers.

Verizon knows that there’s massive pent up demand for this phone. So the 3 week gap between announcement and sales gives Apple and Verizon lead time to train their respective retail staff (Apple in particular needs to figure out how it will guide customers who express no preference in network provider), time to add in store marketing materials, and a significant window to allow for online and in store pre orders.

The only unknown part is the future iPhone being released this summer. The overall iPhone deisgn would seem to be around for another year with just updated guts (new dual core processor) and perhaps Near Field Communication capability. However, CES featured a massive lineup of high end phones with 4.0 inch screens. Is it now time for a iPhone Pro option with a bigger screen? So will Apple go with a two phone lineup this summer? Also, the same lineup of high end phones on Verizon will feature LTE access. Can Apple afford to cede that space to competitors for a full year right after getting on Verizon’s network?

A possible lineup after the next Apple iPhone event;

  • iPhone 4 (GSM/CDMA) for $99 or even $49
  • iPhone 4 Pro (4 inch screen GSM) for $199 – AT&T has already announced that a iPhone GSM LTE variant is arriving in 2012 when their network will be ready.
  • iPhone 4 Pro (4 inch screen CDMA with LTE) for $199 – A July/August launch gives Verizon six months to work out issues with their new wave of iPhone users, and for Apple to decide if Verizon’s new LTE network is ready. An LTE user profile (high bill plan- data users) is going to sync with an iPhone user profile. Verizon will want the iPhone users on that network as early as possible.
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