Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
In the short history of smartphones, handsets carrying all but one of the major operating systems have been available to multiple U.S. carriers. That exception is iOS, for which the iPhone has been the only model. Of course, the iPhone's close cousin, the iPod touch, is available regardless of carrier (or service fees, for that matter), and has sometimes been referred to as "the iPhone for Verizon users." Ultimately, though, it's not. While the iPod touch provides access to a dizzying array of functionality that will likely expand this fall, its lack of an integrated cellular radio and attendant voice calling features means that it cannot assume that primary role in one's digital life in the same way that many smartphones have.
For this reason, the notion of a Verizon iPhone
remains one of the hottest rumors in the industry, with many assuming that it would cause a fundamental shift in the competitive landscape. But there are many reasons that a Verizon iPhone may take years to arrive -- if it ever does -- and may not create nearly the disruption that it has on AT&T.