Seems scarcely a week goes by without some new addition to the whirlwind iPhone rumor mill, but this week has reinvigorated a long-simmering meme: the iPhone going to Verizon. According to the Wall Street Journal,, Apple is developing a new iPhone to be launched this summer—and “appears to be” working on a model that uses CMDA wireless technology.
The Wall Street Journal’s story speculates this potential CDMA iPhone is for U.S. phone carrier Verizon Wireless, while noting it will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology, rather than by the current iPhone manufacturer Hon Hai.
Rumors—and desires—for a CDMA version of the iPhone have been running strong almost since the first iPhones got into consumers’ hands…and users began struggling with AT&T wireless service. Although many users receive satisfactory service from AT&T, many iPhone customers have complained of dropped calls, lack of 3G coverage, and intermittent connectivity. AT&T has been ramping up its network coverage and capacity to accommodate iPhones—as well as a number of other high-bandwidth wireless devices—but wireless users satisfied with Verizon’s wider 3G coverage areas have long wanted a version of the iPhone that worked on Verizon Wireless’s CDMA network. Their hopes were fanned a year ago when Apple came as close as they could to deliberately snubbing AT&T when it introduced iPhone OS 3.0…and had to note key features like tethering and MMS initially wouldn’t be supported by the carrier.
However, the iPhone has been very lucrative for AT&T, and it seems reasonable to assume that the carrier will work hard to keep a lock on the iPhone—and it’s also the exclusive 3G provider for the forthcoming iPad.
Industry watchers speculate that if Apple is indeed working on a CDMA version of the iPhone, it may well be for the Chinese market—and, unfortunately, the Chinese CDMA standard is not compatible with Verizon Wireless.