BusinessWeek cites two sources reporting that Verizon might get an iPhone "lite" and a connected touchscreen Apple tablet as early as this summer.
We've heard talk like this for a long time, but BusinessWeek isn't going to stick its neck out for rumors that aren't at least well sourced, and on top of that, the reporters, Arik Hesseldahl and Spencer Ante, say that Verizon boss Lowell McAdam himself told them that he'd spoken with Steve Jobs in the past six months about a deal.
There aren't many details, except that the phone and the tablet would be different from the iPhone that AT&T sells, presumably so that it wouldn't interfere with the exclusivity deal currently in place. Much of the piece deals with the hedges, that is, why this whole thing may not go down in the end. Here's the bulk of it:
It's possible both sides may disagree over financial terms, such as how big a subsidy Verizon Wireless might pay for each device or whether to share monthly service revenue with Apple. Another deal breaker could be disagreements over distribution of wireless software applications. Apple is the exclusive provider and distributor of apps for the AT&T iPhone. If Apple requests a similar deal on newer devices, Verizon Wireless may balk.
For what it's worth, I think the buzz is getting too loud to ignore totally. This clearly smells like Apple's next move, and for Verizon's sake, I hope it's true, and not just a ploy by Apple to get a nicer exclusivity contract with AT&T. [BusinessWeek]