September 24, 2010
We've all heard the "iPhone on Verizon" song over and over again. We've gotten bored of it, and, for the most part, stopped reporting on rumors concerning the iPhone coming to Verizon. This, despite all those out-of-touch delusional analysts, that announce the arrival of the Verizon iPhone just about every other week. But, the chatter is becoming more intense and consistent lately, so we thought it's time for an update. This week, Apple Insider reported that suppliers are leaking information that Apple is on its way to starting the production of a new CDMA-enabled phone this December. It's interesting, because this is around the date that's been increasingly quoted for the launch of the iPhone on Verizon. Of course we've known for a while that Apple has a CDMA iPhone on hand. If they want to ship early next year they have to start production now. Therefore, they need to involve an increasing number of partners, which is going to make it very hard to keep the production a secret. However, Apple is in a great spot to keep what's going on a secret. Who knows which markets these phones (given they even exist) are intended for? Verizon or Sprint in the US? Bell in Canada or maybe just Chinese Unicom? They can get everything ready and simply ship these wherever they want at the last minute. The production itself is rumored to begin with 3 million CDMA units by the end of the year, (compared to 18.4 GSM units produced so far), which is a lot. Keep in mind: Verizon's CEO just went on record this week to downplay the rumors. He claims we'll have to at least wait for the Verizon 4G network to come together in 2012 before this becomes a possibility:
"We don't feel like we have an iPhone deficit. We would love to carry it when we get there, but we have to earn it. I think 4G will accelerate the process, and any other decisions Apple makes would be fine with us. Hopefully, at some point Apple will get with the program."However, this isn't a total denial. Verizon and Apple would probably want to keep such a strategy to themselves until the last minute. In my opinion, Apple has stuck with AT&T this long for one very simple reason, that nobody seems to take into consideration; it's their trusted partner. Of course, there might also be exclusivity deals involved. But, if you remember, AT&T really went out on a limb for Apple, by letting them make the iPhone happen. AT&T gave Apple their trust and gave up a lot of their control, which no other carrier would do at that time. I believe Apple values this a lot more than we think, and Apple has therefore stood by AT&T despite their network issues and the possibility of making more profit with a multi-carrier approach. Yet, as time goes by, Steve will eventually have to make the step to more carriers, to better compete against the upcoming Android threat. When will this happen you might ask? We don't know and let's face it, nobody does.