By Brian Newman Rayl
The internet has been abuzz with rumors that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) would start carrying the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone for years, only to disappoint the masses year after year. The past 6 months has been no different. Countless rumors and “sources familiar with the situation” have been published all over the net claiming that AT&T (NYSE:T) would be losing its exclusive grip on the iPhone and finally the Verizon iPhone saga would come to fruition. This past Thursday, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 as the keynote speaker. Thousands, perhaps millions, of people were anxiously awaiting to hear news of the iPhone coming to Verizon, but were disappointed yet again as Seidenberg announced new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phone after Droid, after Droid. If you followed the news flow, you could almost hear bubbles popping all over the United States.
Most have heard about the Boy That Cried Wolf. It is an Aesop’s fable that teaches about lying. A boy that is supposed to be watching the village sheep gets bored, and cries “Wolf!” to get others to come out and look. When they get there, there is no wolf and the villagers get upset. After having this happen a couple of times, the next time the boy cries “Wolf!” nobody comes — even though there really is a wolf this time.
As Little Orphan Annie sang, “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow.” Less than 12 hours after disappointing on stage at CES 2011, Verizon sent invitations out to an exclusive, invitation-only press day. The invitations did not disclose what would be announced at the event, but it is quite telling just by looking at who all received the invitation: multiple journalists and news sites who write/talk/blog solely about the iPhone.
News has also come out this past week that Apple has blocked out any vacations or time off requests for the days of Thursday, February 3th until Sunday, February 6th. It has also been rumored that Verizon general managers, district managers, and store managers have been notified of a mandatory in-service during the week of January 31st.
When all of the pieces are put together, it becomes a very credible set of circumstances — Verizon will announce at the press conference on Tuesday that it is indeed going to carry the Verizon-branded iPhone and that the Verizon iPhone release date will be Friday, February 4th.
The questions that remain to be answered are:
1) What will be the price of the legendary Verizon iPhone?
2) Will Verizon offer early contract renewals for those already under contract?
4) Will the new Verizon iPhone allow for multi-tasking?
5) Will the new Verizon iPhone be exclusive to Verizon or allow other CDMA companies like Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Deutsche Telekom’s (NYSE:DT) T-Mobile to join in the excitement?
Verizon iPhone hopefuls will find out much more on Tuesday, unless this is just another case of the boy crying wolf.
Disclosure: Long AAPL, GOOG