It seems like everyone has an iPhone these days. Whether they’re talking with ear bud headsets on the streets or playing games on the subway, consumers have spoken with their love of the iPhone. With word that a new iPhone could be in the offing, you might see even more of the device. However, an even newer development could spread the iPhone to another 80+ million Americans. According to various reports, Verizon and Apple are in “high-level” talks about bringing the iPhone to the nation’s largest carrier. In other words, if you think you see a lot of iPhones now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The partnership is not a certainty by any means. Apple still has an exclusive agreement with AT&T which runs into next year, probably around the June 30 launch of the original iPhone in 2007. AT&T is also attempting to extend the deal into 2011, an obviously smart move on their part. However, exposure to a whole new swath of 80 million subscribers could push Apple to strike an agreement with Verizon.
Apple’s exclusivity agreement with AT&T has worked smashingly, as they’ve teamed up to sell 14.25 million iPhone 3Gs through Apple’s second quarter, in addition to the 6.1 million original iPhones. Yet, one has to wonder how much further they can grow with just AT&T. Verizon’s customer base must be enticing, as it could cause the iPhone’s sales to double or even better next year. It seems that the exclusivity has helped AT&T and Apple, but it’s time for that to end. Free the iPhone!
It’s not likely we’ll hear anything about a Verizon-Apple connection until later this year. Despite the attractiveness of Verizon’s subscriber base, Apple has to be more focused on their new iPhone launch in June/July, rather than a deal for next year. Once we start to see numbers from the new iPhone, then we could start to see Apple decide whether it should stick with just AT&T in 2010, or open up to a new network.