Hints of an iPhone or tablet device for Verizon?

Tweet from a Verizon PR staffer could be a clue that Apple and Verizon have some kind of deal in the works.

Matt Hickey
With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.
Matt Hickey
2 min read
Matt Hickey

As the rumors of an Apple tablet-like device intensify, so too do the rumors of the iPhone coming to Verizon. In the keynote speech at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple barely mentioned AT&T when talking up the successes of the iPhone. The relationship between the partners, some say, isn't what it once was, though we have word from AT&T that everything between them is kosher.

The key factor between the two--and for iPhone customers--has been the exclusivity AT&T has to the device in the U.S. While it doesn't look like Verizon will be getting the iPhone in the near future (sorry, VZW customers!), there are rumors that it will be first in line for a new device by Apple: the spectral-like tablet device that's been rumored for years.

And one more sign that Verizon might be trying to warm up to Apple showed itself on Twitter today. Jeffrey Nelson (@jnels), one of Verizon Wireless' PR guys who has a history of bashing VZW's competitors, today said:

The AT&T iPhone: crippled: http://ff.im/-5MCmD. Come make apps that work: www.vdc2009.com #VDC

He's trying to promote Verizon's aggressive-for-them new developers network. They want an app store like Apple's that will work on a multitude of Verizon handsets (even if it goes against iPhone-ism). It's a great idea, but the real thing to note in this tweet is that Nelson used the phrase "AT&T iPhone", not "Apple iPhone" as most people would.

This might be splitting hairs. This might just be @jnels going on autopilot to talk down a rival. Or it might be Verizon wisely trying to bury the hatchet with Steve Jobs and his gang in the months leading up to a new wireless product. Or, maybe, it's Verizon realizing it needs the iPhone sooner rather than later.