Over the last few months rumors have continued to swirl around a possible Verizon-Apple deal to bring the iPhone to Verizon once Apple's exclusive pact with AT&T expires in 2010. But Tuesday BusinessWeek added a new twist to the rumor, reporting that Verizon and Apple are in talks to develop two new wireless devices that may hit the market this year.
Allegedly, one device would be a thinner, lighter, and lower-priced version of the iPhone--an iPhone Lite, if you will. While the other device would be something akin to the jumbo iPod Touch that we wrote about previously. BusinessWeek's anonymous source describes it as a "media pad that would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos."
The source, who claims to have seen the new media pad, says it's "smaller than an Amazon Kindle electronic reader, but its touch-screen is bigger than the Kindle's." It would be able to place calls over Wi-Fi and a high-speed wireless data connection from Verizon.
In discussing the latest rumor, BusinessWeek and some analysts seemed to downplay the possibility of the iPhone Lite coming to Verizon as long as Apple has an iPhone deal in place with AT&T. While details of that agreement remain scant, the assumption is there's a clause that very likely imposes "strict limits on Apple's ability to introduce an iPhone on a rival network," according to BusinessWeek. There's also a strong possibility that Apple is using all the Verizon talk to put pressure on AT&T to extend its deal with Apple at better terms.
All that said, with all the chatter, it seems more likely we'll see that media pad--or what some people are calling Apple's version of a Netbook--this year. And the wireless portion of it might very well be powered by Verizon--or AT&T.