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A few thoughts on the iPhone/Verizon rumor…

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The big rumor going around today (and MAN – isn’t AMAZING how these “insiders” always seem to come out of the wood work when news and releases are slow? You’d think they PLAN it like this or something) is that Apple is going to release a CDMA iPhone with Verizon in 2009.

I’m sure Verizon would love that since they made the incredibly bad decision to pass on the iPhone the first time, but I don’t really see it happening. It could, and it would be good for Apple, but something about this one just screams “random guy on the Internet sent an email” to me.

Would Apple want to release a CDMA version of the iPhone? The current GSM phone works world wide – a CDMA iPhone wouldn’t. Would it be worth Apple’s time to maintain an entirely separate hardware base for Verizon’s customers?

With almost 50% of current iPhone customers being switchers from other carriers it would seem that many people are fine with switching to get the iPhone. Now I understand there are parts of the country where AT&T doesn’t have great coverage and Verizon does. I understand there are a plethora of Verizon fanboys out there as well – and I know that they don’t want to hear that their might not be enough of them to make it worth Apple’s cost and time to create a completely separate phone for them – but that might be the case. I say might, because we’d really have to sit down with the coverage maps and find how many areas AT&T can’t service that Verizon does – and then try to estimate how many of the people in those areas would be willing to buy an iPhone.

I think there is at least a slight chance that number isn’t going to be worth Apple’s time. Now, sure, there are plenty of people in areas that both companies cover just fine that would rather have the iPhone on Verizon than AT&T – but the “switching” numbers don’t lie – any many of those people are making the jump.

It seems more likely that Apple would make the jump to T-Mobile before going with Verizon at this point in the game. If they did that, they wouldn’t have to build a completely new phone, they could just expand to another carrier.

I’m sure there are many people who disagree, though. So feel free to go nuts in the comments below – but just try to remember…I don’t hate Verizon. If Apple DOES decide to do this – I think that’ll be great. The more iPhone users the merrier…I just don’t think its going to happen.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

9 thoughts on “A few thoughts on the iPhone/Verizon rumor…

  1. I think it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN… maybe not next year but I think eventually it will happen. What I want to see is if Verizon tries to lock down the GPS to VZNav (eg: every Blackberry Device) and if Apple lets them get away with it…

    Yeah AT&T has coverage EVERYWHERE, but look at their 3G footprint compared to Verizion’s. Verizon win’s by a LANDSLIDE. I cant remember the last time I went some where that didn’t have EVDO, even in the boonies (I live and travel in north eastern Alabama).

  2. It would not necessarily be a completely different hardware version. It would involve a chipset change to the current phone, though. There are a number of chipsets that are multi-mode capable, able to use CDMA 2000 EVDO Rev. 1 in the United States while using WCDMA/HSPA in other parts of the country. It would even permit roaming within this country where the absence of Verizon would mean roaming onto 3G networks of AT&T or T-Mobile. All 3G technology is based on CDMA, regardless of flavor, btw.

    It would not pay for them to maintain the version that uses the current Infineon chip set, but the change above would allow them to maintain a “universal” phone.

  3. I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch for Apple to go with Verizon, making a CDMA version of the phone isn’t as complicated as you make it out to be. Plus, if Apple really wants to take over the mobile phone realm as they have the DAP, they need to make it so ANYBODY can have one. There are plenty of people tied up in contracts, or geographic locations that prevent them from getting an iPhone. I know you covered this, but I think you underestimate just how terrible AT&T’s coverage is. Speaking from a Midwestern state, they have coverage in the capital and along the interstates and that’s it. I’m not saying it will definitely happen, but I think apple could really make a lot of money on it…and they love to do that.

  4. Agree 100%. Apple has much bigger fish to fry — they are concentrating getting the iPhone released in China and numerous other countries with no iPhone carriers. Building a separate model for Verizon seems like a terrible waste of resources.

  5. @Ben Pike: Yes I agree it is a question of when: and that when will be when the switch to 4G occurs — where Verizon will join the rest of the world on the same standard — in 2010 ~ 2011.

  6. I think a version for verizon could be used in other countries too. We here in Canada only have an iPhone from Rogers because they are the only GSM phone company. I believe our other carriers (Bell and Telus) use CDMA. I don’t know anyone who has an iPhone here, because Rogers charges too much. We could certainly use some competition to get the iPhone in use here.

  7. I’m sorry but this article does not make any sense. I sold cell phones and have dealt with all of the problems from sprint, verizon, and especially at&t (which was at&t then cingular to fix their rep, then back to at&t to fix their rep). GSM is not nearly as good of a technology as CDMA. CDMA call quality is the same with 2 bars as with 5, whereas there is a direct correlation between bars and call quality with GSM. GSM is also affected by lower frequencies, so you run more interference in your home. GSM also has terrible overall coverage compared to a Verizon, and lets face it, people don’t care about global use to get the iPhone (even though companies like RIM have created worldphones to do both, which Apple could easily do with Verizon, since over seas you aren’t using your AT&T contract anyway. Iphone statistically would also make Verizon the country’s biggest carrier, allowing them to claim more market share and thus improving network function. Lets not forget that AT&T’s 3G network has shown to be pretty faulty at times, and that AT&T’s customer support is ranked terribly. So,basically, 1. Verizon would provide a superior network (If AT&T gets coverage there, Verizon’s is probably better, no vice a verse options there). Things will blow up considerably larger moving it to Verizon, which is why Apple went to Verizon 1st. Remember, AT&T got it because they were the only one willing to sacrifice so much on the network support side to accomplish the contract.

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