It's what we thought... until the Wall Street Journal told us
we were wrong. It's what USA Today originally reported
, although nobody else was ever able to confirm it... until now. Nilay Patel at Engadget has unearthed some 2008 filings
in a 2007 class-action lawsuit that clarify the matter: the AT&T/Apple deal for exclusive domestic service on the iPhone, which has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth
, was originally set for a five-year term. That would put the earliest appearance of a Verizon iPhone into the summer of 2012 -- assuming that there wasn't any reason for one or the other party to break off the agreement.
Those disclosures are a couple of years old now, and the circumstances may have changed a bit (exclusivity may have been extended since then), but at least there's some grounding for what the original half-decade setup was intended to be. Even though recent analyst musings led to the surmise that the iPad's bargain data plans
, which are delivered sans contract, might have been a carrot in extending AT&T's hold on the iPhone for a few more months, it's not at all clear that an extension would have been necessary to lock in sales through the end of this year.