Verizon Tower on Apple Turf Raises Hopes for Verizon iPhone

Steve Jobs probably didn’t mean to feed yet another scrap to ravenous Verizon users when he appeared before an audience of journalists at Friday’s iPhone 4 press conference, but one off-hand comment made AT&T-wary ears perk up.

In response to an attendee who claimed that he couldn’t replicate Apple’s alleged “death grip” on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 with his own device, Jobs began to elaborate that it wouldn’t work in areas with good signal… like Apple’s campus.

“We’ve got a strong signal here,” he shot back. “We have both AT&T and Verizon towers on campus.”

A Verizon tower on Apple’s campus is certainly no guarantee of a Verizon iPhone waiting in the eaves, but curious minds naturally drew a connection.

As Beatweek magazine notes, Apple could be developing a CDMA iPhone even as it waits for contractual entanglements with AT&T to dissolve. MacOS X was developed on Intel and the PowerPC processors platform long before Apple ever switched to Intel chips. The same parallel development could be taking place on the iPhone now, with Verizon’s tower on campus for testing.

MacRumors provides an important counter-point, though: Carriers routinely pay private landowners to erect towers on their property. Individual landowners have been known to compete for the lucrative leases, which pay out about $1,500 monthly for 20 years or more at a time. Apple’s Infinite Loop property in Cupertino, just a stone’s throw from Interstate 280 in densely populated area, might have fetched significantly more. While it might still be chump change by Apple standards, the company could very well be collecting monthly checks for the convenience of a Verizon tower on its property, rather than paying for the privilege.

Are anxious Verizon fans jumping the gun, or is this more than mere coincidence? Has anyone managed to spot said towers on with Google’s detailed aerial view of the Apple campus? Give us your take in the comments section.

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