Analyst: Report of Verizon Getting iPhone, No Surprise
The rumor mill is cranking back up again and this time it's churning out new tidbits about the iPhone. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is developing a new iPhone for AT&T, as well as a CDMA version for Verizon Wireless. Both devices are expected for a summer release.
Neither Verizon Wireless nor Apple would comment on the report.
But Kevin Burden, device analyst for ABI Research, says it’s about time for Apple to spread the iPhone love to other carriers. “We’ve been waiting a long time for Apple to break out of AT&T. It’s about time,” he says. “If Verizon is able to pick it up, it doesn’t seem that surprising anymore.”
Burden says that Apple has to be looking for another spike in sales and the only way to achieve that is to break with AT&T and attract a whole new set of subscribers on another network. But he also says that the whole handset exclusivity idea seems to be going by the wayside, citing recent migrations of Palm devices, as well as the Nexus One.
Both AT&T and Apple appear to be well positioned for a split. Burden notes statistics that show that AT&T reports that 70 percent of devices sold in 2009 were qwerty messaging devices.
“AT&T is saying, ‘We’ve done very well with the iPhone, but it’s not just the iPhone. We’ve got a respectable portfolio of devices,’” Burden says.
As far as Apple’s internal dialogue, Burden thinks it’s equally optimistic about a break with its carrier partner. “Apple’s at a point now where they’ve gotta be asking themselves, ‘Where’s our growth? How do we grow within this company? We’ve been with AT&T for a couple years, where’s that next spike?’ Now what do you do? You start making it available to subscribers on other networks,” he says.
The Journal cites "people briefed on the matter," who say the next iPhone for AT&T is being developed by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, which is responsible for all of Apple's previous phones. A CDMA version of the phone reportedly is being developed by Pegatron Technology.
The timing is in line with past iPhone updates. Since the iPhone's initial launch in 2007, Apple has brought out a new iPhone around June or July.