Verizon iPhone a Virtual Lock for Q1

One of the industrys top analysts says theres now a 95 percent chance that Verizon Wireless will offer a CDMA-compatible version of Apples iPhone in the first quarter of 2011.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray believes Verizon will sell at least 9 million of the devices in 2011, which would account for more than one-third of its smartphone activations overall.

Munster expects youll see upgrades to a bunch of Apple products this year, including:

  • iPad 2: will feature both a rear and a front-facing camera to accommodate video chat using Apples FaceTime application; also expected to be lighter and thinner than its predecessor and will become available in 100 additional nations
  • iTunes cloud services: Munster says theres a 90 percent chance of this offering, which would square off with Google Music plans set to debut on Android smartphones.
  • Web services: will include more document-storage support in the cloud
  • iPhone 5: The latest version of the companys signature device, Munster says, will debut sometime in the summer and will feature near-field communications, a technology specially designed to accommodate mobile payments.

Looking even farther into the future, the analyst believes Apple could become more of a player in the television arena by the end of 2012.

“While Apple’s commitment to the living room remains a ‘hobby,’ we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus,” Munster writes, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate,” Munster noted.

Last, but not least, the analyst believes Apple will redesign its MacBook Pros and iMacs in 2011.

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