That Verizon iPhone we keep hearing about? It's looking increasingly likely we'll see it in just a few short months.
Fortune today has joined other publications in offering their own kind of confirmation of an iPhone coming to Verizon's network, though it has never been confirmed on the record.
In this case, Fortune dropped this bit of information in the middle of a lengthy profile of Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. Without quoting him or anyone else at Verizon directly, "sources" tell Fortune that a Verizon iPhone is a "fait accompli."
The device will arrive in early 2011 and be based on Verizon's 3G CDMA network, which means it won't work outside the U.S. There's not much more detail about the device than that, but there are some interesting details about the decision-making process and the Verizon-Apple relationship.
Fortune quotes Verizon President Lowell McAdam about a phone call he made to Steve Jobs in December 2007. McAdam says he told Jobs that they should consider doing business together, considering the widespread problems of dropped calls on AT&T's network. Despite previous disagreements, McAdam said, "it's probably worth having another discussion to make sure we're not missing something." According to the report, Jobs told him, "Yeah, you're probably right. We have missed something."
And is that "something" a CDMA iPhone running on Verizon's network? The signs are pointing to yes. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have also reported that Apple's phone will finally come to the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. at the beginning of 2011. And other clues have collectively added fuel to the fire: There have been reports of massive orders of CDMA chips by Apple, Verizon staffing up call centers in January, AT&T providing incredibly generous early upgrade offers preceding what is likely a loss of exclusivity of the iPhone, and Apple's iPad coming to Verizon this month.
Previous reports have pegged January for the introduction, though Fortune just reports "early 2011" for when the device will arrive on Verizon. That could still mean Apple introduces it at an event in January.