Is a 4G Verizon iPhone on the way?

Verizon is said to be releasing a CDMA-capable iPhone sometime in 2011. And some are speculating that the Verizon iPhone will be a 4G affair.

Verizon iPhone: This week, the question isn't when the handset will launch, but what kind of hardware the handset will feature.

Sometime between the recent news morning and today, the tech blogosphere stopped debating if a Verizon iPhone was on the way, and started debating what that Verizon iPhone might offer the masses. Would a Verizon iPhone include some kind of hardware or software fix for the flawed antenna – the original cause of Death Grip mania? Or better yet, will the Verizon iPhone be a 4G-capable handset?

This last bit of rumor was floated Friday by the Wall Street Journal, which published the report that reignited the Verizon iPhone maelstrom. "If Verizon starts offering an iPhone usable only on its 3G network, Apple's handset will be at a disadvantage to rival 4G phones," reporter Martin Peers writes in a speculative WSJ piece today. "What's more, users may find they get slower speeds than they would with the iPhone on AT&Ts network."

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"Congestion on the AT&T network complicates any speed comparison, but AT&T's 3G technology is theoretically faster than Verizon's version of 3G," he adds. As Peers points out, Verizon recently announced that it would roll out 4G – or in Verizon's parlance, LTE – technology to 38 cities and more than 60 airports around the country. Verizon says its 4G network will transmit data up to 10 times as fast as a standard 3G connection.

So naturally, the timing seems to line up: a brand new Verizon iPhone, and a brand new 4G network. Well, not so fast. Over at Gizmodo, Matt Buchanan calls a 4G Verizon iPhone a "fantasy." His argument is twofold: First of all, he says, the rollout of Verizon 4G service is likely to be "bumpy." Second of all, he says that Apple may not have developed an iPhone with enough battery juice to hold up to constant 4G use.

(The idea here being that 4G use would drain batteries on an iPhone even more quickly than 3G use.)

"The simplest explanation for things is usually the right one," Buchanan writes. "Which sounds more logical: An iPhone coming to Verizon banks on a bleeding edge network technology that's only available in select areas with spotty coverage and destroys battery life? Or an iPhone just like the regular GSM model that simply uses a CDMA chip?"

Well, you tell us. Drop us a line in the comments section – and keep it civil, folks.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

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