The iPhone news mill was awash Friday with word of a leaked Skype help document that indicated that Skype would soon be bringing video chat capabilities to their iPhone and still-in-development iPad apps. Shortly after word of the document began to spread, Skype kind-of-sort-of pulled the document from their web site.
The question isn't if Apple's exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T Mobility will end. The question is when, and the answer looks more like early 2011 if recent comments by AT&T CFO Richard Lindner are to be believed. Speaking at the UBS Media and Communications Conference, Lindner explained simply that exclusive arrangements end.
He emphasized that regardless of this inconvenient fact, AT&T has a diversity of phones to offer consumers. Although he didn't give any details, other news this week also points to AT&T rival Verizon Wireless offering Apple a sweet deal to keep the iPhone off of Sprint and T-Mobile's networks in the US.
Rumors of a Verizon iPhone 4 are hitting a fever pitch even as Apple and the largest US carrier are keeping mum. Two new reports lend more credence to the claim that a CDMA-compatible Verizon Wireless iPhone will be launched in early 2011, only months after the company started selling iPads in its retail stores. Fortune magazine reports that Verizon executives sought to patch things up with Apple after CEO Jobs was initially rebuffed in his attempts to launch the iPhone on the carrier's network.
Sources also told the magazine that a Verizon iPhone was a done deal, coming to a retail location near you. The device is planned to be the current iPhone 4 model, except with a CDMA chip that will only work on Verizon's US network. No specific date was given, however early 2011 could put launch several months before the iPhone 5 is expected in summer 2011.
Call centers connected to Apple and cellular carrier Verizon Wireless have begun hiring in earnest, with rumors and speculation flying that the staff additions could only be in preparation for a Verizon iPhone launch. One company, Ryla is hiring 1,700 people in four states on behalf of a "major wireless cell phone service retailer."
Further evidence points to Teleperformance in Salt Lake City, who has a history of working closely with Apple and Verizon Wireless in the past. The company has advertised hundreds of positions in six states related to wireless, communications or cell phone support. One ad states that job applicants will offer technical support for personal computers and portable devices including MP3 players and smartphones.
Millions and millions of wireless customers from Verizon and AT&T have said they're waiting to buy an iPhone until the device is available on America's largest carrier. Comments by Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg to investors at a Goldman Sachs conference give the impression that these people could be waiting a lot longer than they thought. Rumors have indicated the company will partner with Apple on the release of a CDMA iPhone as early as January 2011.
Instead, Seidenberg associated the iPhone with Verizon Wireless' upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, rolling out now and not scheduled to cover the entire US until December 2012. If you bought an iPhone now, that's only three months after your two-year AT&T contract would expire.