Apple is reportedly planning to launch a new iPhone this summer, and is also working on a model of the smartphone for Verizon Wireless.
Apple has released a refresh of the iPhone in June or July every year since its release in 2007, and this year won't be any different, according to The Wall Street Journal. Quoting people briefed on the matter, it said Apple is also working on an iPhone that would support a CDMA cellular network, which is the same used by Verizon Wireless.
The latter development would be significant in that it would break the exclusivity AT&T has had on the iPhone in the United States. Many iPhone customers have complained of poor service from AT&T, and the carrier has acknowledged that its data network has been unacceptably slow during peak hours in cities with a high concentration of iPhone users, such as San Francisco and New York.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel Monday declined comment on the report, but said AT&T continued to have "great relationship with Apple."
"We expect the iPhone to be a part of our future for a long time," Siegel told InformationWeek.
Reports of an iPhone for Verizon Wireless have surfaced before. Most recently, Apple's introduction in January of a tablet computer called the iPad led to speculation that device would be offered by Verizon Wireless. Apple, however, later said AT&T would be its carrier partner for the tablet, which is scheduled to be released April 3.
Industry observers have said that Apple is likely to offer the iPhone on U.S. cellular networks other than AT&T's GSM technology someday, and that AT&T is probably planning for such a scenario. Apple and AT&T have declined comment.
Meanwhile, the Journal reported that Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry is building the iPhone set for summer release. Hon Hai has manufactured the previous iPhones.
An iPhone that would run on Verizon Wireless' CDMA network is being built by Pegatron Technology, a contract manufacturing subsidiary of ASUSTek Computer, also based in Taiwan, the newspaper reported. Mass production could begin as early as September.