Rumor mill repromises CDMA iPhone
El Reg foresees Chinese touchdown
It's time to launch a swarm Verizon iPhone rumors again - then swat them down.
According to DigiTimes, "sources from component makers" say that Pegatron has been stumbling recently and that - in a generous understatement - "new iPhone orders are seen as a step in the right direction".
Ten million CDMA iPhones would also be a step in the right direction for the few wireless carriers who use that mobile phone standard, and who want to get aboard the iPhone gravy train - such as Verizon Wireless and China Telecom.
While China Telecom is acknowledged to be the number three wireless carrier in the Middle Kingdom, Verizon is El Numero Uno in the US. But despite its status as top dog, it has had to sit on the sidelines and watch AT&T profit from its exclusive iPhone partnership with Apple.
Not that there haven't been rumblings that the US deal might be modified to allow multiple iPhone carriers, as is true in the UK, Australia, France, and elsewhere. Those rumors came to a head in the days before the iPad was announced, with some observers saying that the lifting of AT&T exclusivity was a done deal.
Well, nope. Didn't happen. There turned out to be no secret CDMA iPhone hiding in the wings.
However, another Verizonable "world-mode" phone - one that conforms to both the CDMA and GSM/UMTS standards - has also been rumored to appear sometime later this year. But if the rumors about that phone are correct, it will be a scaled-down version of the current iPhone. It's unlikely that Verzion would want to settle for the second-class model.
But China Telecom might. After all, iPhone sales are now growing by leaps and bounds in that country, and its market is certainly large enough to support both a top-drawer and an entry-level iPhone.
During a recent conference call detailing Apple's financial performance, chief operating officer Tim Cook noted that iPhone sales in the entire Asia-Pacific region were up 474 per cent year-on-year in the company's most recent fiscal quarter. "If you look at greater China, which is defined as mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the iPhone units were up year-over-year over nine times," he added.
Cook noted that revenue from greater China in the first half of Apple's fiscal year was just under $1.3bn. "China has been interesting," he said.
Although Apple's secrecy on such matters leaves us groping to connect rumor-sourced dots, there's one more tidbit that supports the argument that DigiTimes's alleged Pegatron phone might be the rumored world-mode phone: when rumors of that phone surfaced last November, word was that it wouldn't be assembled by Apple's current iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, but instead by - wait for it - Pegatron.
And so, if the new Pegatron rumors are correct, and if said CDMA phone is actually an entry-level world-mode phone, and if Apple chooses to make that phone available to both its current Chinese GSM/UMTS partner China Unicom and the CDMA network operated by China Telecom, then we stand by our earlier conclusion that Verizon won't enter the iPhone arena until 4G models based on LTE technology begin to appear, possibly in the first half of next year.
Or not. All of this is conjecture, after all, based upon the shifting sands of rumor and speculation.
One thing is solid, though: Apple's secrecy. Pegatron, as might be expected from a company that may or may not be dealing with Apple - or wanting to in the future - refused to confirm or deny the DigiTimes report. ®
"Pegatron, as might be expected from a company that may or may not be dealing with Apple - or wanting to in the future - refused to confirm or deny the DigiTimes report"
..the rest of the world (and his dog) dont actually care ?
Next year is too early for LTE
Any LTE phone coming out for Verizon this or next year will need to be able to fall back on CDMA whenever LTE coverage is not available (which will probably be more than half of the time). Verizon have said that they will reach 100 % LTE coverage only by the end of 2013. Therefore, a good time for Apple to introduce a CDMA-free iPhone on Verizon would be Christmas 2013 or Summer 2014, not earlier.
I can't imagine they would wait that long though, seeing how Android broke through in the US over the last 6 months thanks to Verizon's 100 million Dollar ad campaign and and AT&T's suffering reputation.
As you've said, Verizon is the largest US carrier. AT&T, being number 2, is selling about 3 million iPhones per quarter right now. If Apple offered a CDMA iPhone this fall, Verizon would easily be able to sell those 10 million units mentioned by DigiTimes between September/October 2010 and June 2011 (when the next gen iPhone would presumably follow).
Your idea that a low-end iPhone must surely be CDMA+GSM doesn't make sense to me. Such an unusual construction would most likely be costly, add weight and volume and strain the battery. Why would Apple prepare such an absolute niche config for a low-price, high-volume version of the iPhone? How would it help them?
Better to make 2 different models. Or even 3, in the case of China Unicom's TD-SCDMA standard–as long as order figures a big enough for each individual model. Apple has been known to produce a slighty tweaked WiFi-less iPhone version for China Mobile that sold about 250k, 500k or so by now. They would surely put a completely new radio into the iPhone if Verizon orders millions and millions of units.
That CDMA iPhone prototypes have existed in Apple's labs since 2007, that I have no doubt about. This is, after all, the company that had secretly kept Intel versions of Mac OS X under development for a decade before they finally flipped the switch in 2006.
GSM in China
While I was in China earlier this year, even in mountainous regions, my iPhone had full signal, all the time, from China Telecom. Better signal than ANY European country I've been in.
I really don't think they need CDMA :)