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Best Buy buys in modest iPad supply

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US Apple stores and Best Buy branches will have a few iPads in stock on Saturday to ensure the media-friendly queues.

However, some in the expected line-up may be waiting for the next-generation iPhone.

Steve Wozniak told Newsweek he'll be amongst those queuing for an Wi-Fi iPad come Saturday, as Apple has confirmed that both its own stores and Best Buy branches will have stock and be offering to set up email and install an application or two.

Those with smaller pockets will be more interested in the Wall Street Journal's report of a next-generation iPhone that will, apparently, support CDMA networks.

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) refers to a technique as well as a technical standard, the latter being used by Verizon's 90 million US customers as well as Sprint Nextel. As a technique CDMA is part of the GSM 3G standard (W-CDMA, the "W" standing for "Wideband") and supported by the existing iPhone.

In the US the iPhone has remained exclusive to AT&T and its W-CDMA network, but now the Wall Street Journal quotes "people briefed by the company" saying that Apple has developed a CDMA iPhone for the competing networks.

It's not the first time a CDMA iPhone has been mooted, and it seems likely that Apple itself floats the idea every now and then to keep AT&T on its toes - Cupertino will get a much better deal out of a frightened AT&T than one confident in its technically-mandated monopoly.

The WSJ attributes Apple's new-found interest in CDMA to delays in LTE deployment. LTE promises to be a properly universal standard (once that upstart WiMAX has been dealt with), so why bother developing a CDMA version when Apple could embrace 4G with an LTE model that would work on any network - once they've deployed it?

That still seems the most probable reality - this year's iPhone will, no doubt, have some interesting features, but it seems likely that rumours of a CDMA version are just a stick with which to continue beating AT&T. ®

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