It has long been rumored that Verizon Wireless will eventually start selling the iPhone. But Lowell McAdam, the head of Verizon Wireless, on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of an iPhone on Verizon's current 3G network. Verizon expects one to come later for Verizon's newer, faster 4G network, McAdam said at a wireless conference in San Francisco, echoing comments the company's CEO made in September.
A version of the iPhone that uses the CDMA network technology wouldn't necessarily be for Verizon Wireless. Sprint Nextel Corp. uses the same technology, as do some Chinese and Korean carriers. Sprint and Apple declined comment.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed by Apple Inc., said Wednesday that the company will start mass-producing the new iPhones by year's end. They could go on sale early next year.
Current iPhones only work on GSM networks, including that of the iPhone's exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T Inc.
The Journal also said Apple is developing a fifth-generation iPhone that looks different from the ones on sale today. New iPhone designs, including ones with smaller and larger screens than the existing models, have also long been rumored to be in the works. Apple has been releasing a new model each June.
Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Bros., wrote in a research note Wednesday that "in our checks with industry and supply chain sources, we have picked up indication of development and progress on new form factor iPhones."
Apple's stock fell 69 cents to $288.25 in afternoon trading Wednesday.
Verizon shares rose 16 cents to $33.23, and AT&T's stock gained 4 cents to $27.37.