SEATTLE -- A new report says Apple Inc. is getting ready to manufacture an iPhone model that works on the cellular network operated by Verizon Wireless, though it doesn't necessarily mean it's coming to that carrier any time soon.
It has long been rumored that Verizon Wireless will eventually start selling the iPhone.
But Lowell McAdam, the head of Verizon Wireless, on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of an iPhone on Verizon's current 3G network.
Verizon expects one to come later for Verizon's newer, faster 4G network, McAdam said at a wireless conference in San Francisco, echoing comments the company's CEO made in September.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed by Apple Inc., said Wednesday that the company will start mass-producing the iPhones that work on CDMA cellular networks, the kind used by Verizon, by year's end.
They could go on sale early next year. But that wouldn't necessarily be for Verizon Wireless. Sprint Nextel Corp. uses the same technology, as do some Chinese and Korean carriers.
Sprint and Apple declined comment. Current iPhones only work on GSM networks, including that of the iPhone's exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T Inc.
The Journal also said Apple is developing a fifth-generation iPhone that looks different from the ones on sale today.
New iPhone designs, including ones with smaller and larger screens than the existing models, have also long been rumored to be in the works.
Apple has been releasing a new model each June. Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Bros., wrote in a research note Wednesday that "in our checks with industry and supply chain sources, we have picked up indication of development and progress on new form factor iPhones."
Apple's stock increased 25 cents to close Wednesday at $289.19. Verizon shares rose 28 cents to $33.36, and AT&T's stock lost 32 cents to $28.62.
Report: Apple to Make iPhone Compatible With Verizon Network
New report says phones will soon be compatible with Verizon Wireless network