Apple plans to announce an LTE-capable iPhone on Verizon Wireless “right after Christmas,” according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source believed to be familiar with the matter, MacDailyNews reports that Verizon held management training for iPhone sales last week, and had functioning, LTE-capable units in management hands during the sessions. The report also states that the device has been finished for “quite a while” and is already to shipping in bulk to Verizon warehouses; the device is reportedly not shipping to any third-party retailers in an effort to contain leaks.
Due to the limited LTE coverage currently offered by Verizon, the phone will have multi-band chip backward compatibility with regular CDMA networks, but will be promoted as the only “LTE iPhone,” and will be a Verizon exclusive. Furthermore, the report claims that the iPhone 5 was planned to debut in summer 2011 as an LTE-only handset for all contracted carriers, but LTE coverage is not expected to be widespread enough for an LTE-only launch; Apple CEO Steve Jobs is said to be upset that carriers cannot seem to get LTE rolled out more quickly, and the company is reportedly “helping” U.S. carriers to speed up their build outs of LTE technology.
Notably, MacDailyNews states that the information has yet to be independently confirmed. Apple has traditionally taken a conservative approach when it comes to including cutting-edge connectivity options in its products—for example, the original iPhone launched without support for available 3G networks, and Apple has not supported next-generation wired or wireless standards such as USB 3 or WiMAX despite roll-outs of compatible hardware by other companies. The Verizon LTE launch was more widespread than initially expected, however, and the launch of Verizon’s iPad + MiFi bundle, as well recent comments made by AT&T executives, suggest that a collaboration of some sort between Apple and Verizon is ongoing, lending credence to the possibility of such an aggressive iPhone launch plan.