Apple could not possibly go wrong in developing a CDMA version of the iPhone for distribution on Verizon's network. Apple would not only gain access to an additional 80 million subscribers, but also to a significantly more robust 3G network. It is also very likely that Verizon has been looking to deploy the next generation of mobile broadband, Long Term Evolution. This would provide a much improved platform for the iPhone to really demonstrate its potential. In addition Apple would also gain expertise that could be used to access other networks. While only a minority compared to GSM operators, many operators worldwide still have CDMA networks deployed.
I, for one thing, will not be holding my breath, however. Verizon has a history of completely controlling the specifications of any device that touches its network. Branding will also probably be a point of contention during negotiations between the two power houses. Not to mention the app store, which is the ultimate antithesis to Verizon's tightly controlled walled garden. Another factor will be the technology itself. CDMA is a technology that was developed by Qualcomm, to whom Apple would have to pay royalties.
Regardless of the outcome, I am very much looking forward to the pressure that this threat will place on AT&T to improve its service.Other related links: TechCrunch, Macrumors, Engadget