This year Apple has prepared a lot of pleasant surprises. First there was an iPad. Now comes the fourth generation of the iPhone,  both the iPhone 4.0 OS and the iPhone 4G.

With the fourth generation of the iPhone, it is rumored that Apple will open the market, ending the exclusive rights for AT&T Inc. of selling this iconic gadget. The device will operate on a wireless network called CDMA. This is used by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp., not GSM as AT&T and the majority of phone carrier’s worldwide use.

The news was commented on by an AT&T spokesman, who said; “We haven’t seen an iPhone operating in CMDA yet, only Apple has the knowledge of when that device will be available”.

When questioned, both Apple and Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, declined to comment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to release a new version of the current iPhone, this summer. The device will be much thinner and will have a faster processor.

At the present time, AT&T has over 43% of all U.S. smart phone customers, while Verizon has only 23%. iPhone has played a significant role in the growth of AT&T. According to the annual report, AT&T activated 3.1 million new iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The opening for CMDA carriers, namely Verizon, who has 91 million customers, is the beginning of a new era for Apple. In the past year iPhone sales registered a global growth of 83%. If Verizon becomes a partner of Apple, it is believable to think that Apple is going to double its iPhone users, according to Berstein analyst, Toni Sacconaghi.