Verizon iPhone All But Confirmed; Unlimited Data Plan Expected at Launch

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Since Verizon Wireless let it slip that it would be holding a special event tomorrow and curiously invited some Apple-exclusive journalists who wouldn’t normally cover Verizon happenings, a number of heavy hitters have put their names on the line to confirm that yes, tomorrow will be the day that the Verizon iPhone becomes a reality.

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AllThingsD was at the vanguard last Friday: “sources close to the company tell me this [event] will indeed prove to be the long-rumored Verizon iPhone announcement,” wrote John Packowski, who was soon backed up by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Recent reports fill us in further on what we might expect:

Release date in January: The WSJ reports that “The phone will make its way to Verizon Wireless stores around the end of January.”

The Verizon iPhone will launch with an unlimited data plan: In contrast to AT&T, which killed unlimited data plans last year, angering Apple fans, a different WSJ report has it that Verizon’s iPhone will launch with an unlimited data plan, possibly for $30 per month. (Compare to AT&T’s plan offering 2GB per month for $25, and charges iPhone users $10 for each additional GB they go over that limit.)

It’s unclear how long the unlimited data halo would last, however. In September, departing Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg confirmed that Verizon Wireless would be phasing out unlimited data plans over the course of four to six months; as of January, three of those months have already elapsed. Verizon may or may not make a longer exception for the iPhone, because come on, it’s the freaking Verizon iPhone.

AT&T seems scared: AT&T PR sent the following statement to Business Insider when the latter wrote about the possibility of an unlimited data iPhone on Verizon: “The iPhone is built for speed, but that’s not what you get with a CDMA phone. I’m not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane.” (That’s not even necessarily true; as we wrote in our guide to GSM vs. CDMA, the Qualcomm-designed CDMA standard has traditionally had the faster speeds and more reliable service, though GSM is catching up.)

Robert Scoble: “AT&T should shut up.”

The troublesome iPhone 4 antenna may finally be fixed: This one’s a little bit flakier than some of the above, but Smartphone Medic has leaked screenshots of a new iPhone which could be either the Verizon iPhone or the iPhone 5, with the suspect antenna placement that caused trouble for AT&T iPhone 4 users apparently fixed.

Apple killing restocking fees: 9to5Mac reports that the launch of the Verizon iPhone will correspond with Apple killing the 10% restocking fee for customers returning opened products at its stores, presumably to encourage customers to try out the new phones without penalty.

Steve Jobs could appear at the announcement: The biggest hurdle many Apple Kremlinologists have encountered in accepting that tomorrow is the day for the announcement of the Verizon iPhone is that Verizon, not Apple, will be hosting the event. While Apple would normally not want to give up the glory to another company, this event could be the exception because this isn’t technically the unveiling of a new product, but rather a new carrier announcement. At that, it makes sense that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would appear at Verizon’s event. AllThingsD’s Paczkowski says that Jobs is “likely” to attend.

Hey, remember that CES thingie last week that everyone was all excited about?

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