Blog Post

An iPhone in Every Pot?

The best thing about a new iPhone (s goog) is all the speculation that runs rampant prior to launch. It’s fun to follow it and especially fun when you find two rumors that are “sure things” that are directly opposite. Fellow Houstonian Dwight Silverman has been following all the rumor-mongering, and he’s come up with a very interesting theory about the next phone from Cupertino. It will be offered by AT&T (s t) as expected. And going to Verizon (s vz). And appearing at Sprint (s s). Even T-Mobile is getting an iPhone.

Dwight is the first to admit he could be wrong, but he lays out a logical thought process that does give one pause. It’s an interesting theory, but only Steve Jobs knows for sure.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers

8 Responses to “An iPhone in Every Pot?”

  1. CDMA may be an inferior technology but Verizon still has INFINITELY better coverage than AT&T probably ever will. Sitting at my computer, if I make a phone call with the iPhone, I’d bet you a paycheck it won’t last longer than 2 minutes if it works at all. Further, while driving to Florida I noticed 3G disappeared as soon as I left Richmond, VA and didn’t return until I was in Florida. This being opposed to Verizon where I had solid coverage for the entire trip and it was fast enough that I could watch the USA & Canada gold medal hockey game on my laptop with a Verizon modem. Also, I could make a phone call here at my computer and stay on the phone all day with Verizon. I don’t care if CDMA is inferior or not, I can wait until fall to see if Verizon actually is getting an iPhone and, if so, AT&T will be a rather bad memory immediately.

  2. Apple’s exclusive agreement with AT&T gives it one thing that no other hardware manufacture enjoys with U.S. carriers: control. AT&T is so in need of the customers the iPhone brings that it allows Apple to control every aspect of the phone. Remember that Apple approached Verizon first to carry the device, and then looked elsewhere when Verizon started asking for changes.

    Also remember that AT&T has historically lost money on the iPhone and has publicly stated that it’s goal is market share. Unless Apple is preparing to make some large concessions, don’t expect AT&T to let them off the hook early, meaning the bottom-line sacrifices would have been for nothing.

    Having the iPhone on more networks could actually work against Apple. Carrier competition would put pricing pressure on the phone lowering per unit margins and contract pricing. Carriers might seek iPhone brand differentiation as a way to limit the need for price cuts. (For instance, would the carriers want to use a common app and music store or insist on there own stores?) Finally, if there is an “iPhone in every pot,” will the phone still appeal to the “cool” crowd, those that embrace the different?

    One day Apple will be in a position to team with multiple carriers. The question is will they want to?

    (Finally thought: ironically, Apple could do what Google tried and failed with the Nexus One. Apple could build a phone that works with every frequency in the U.S. and then sell it direct through its web site and existing retailer network. Customers would then seek out the carrier and plan of their choice. With Apple’s existing customer following and reputation for excellent hardware, the would certainly succeed where Google failed.)

    • Ray: There is no way Apple concedes anything to carriers. Basically when Apple got in this game they were calling the shots from day 1. They built their own infrastructure that cut out the BS ringtone stores the carriers offered from the very get-go. They built a handset that people wanted to buy and transformed the industry in the process.

      As it stands in Canada we now have 4 different carriers for the iPhone and really nothing changed. Apple simply supplies each carrier with a different iPhone ad from the same series to add their logo to at the end and that’s it. Typically carriers spend more time advertising how great their network is then the actual hardware the phone manufacturers build, which Apple will have none of. There were no concessions on Apple’s part. I can assure you that Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will fall all over themselves to bring the iPhone to their customers. It’s just a matter of at what point have they squeezed AT&T for everything they’ve got to keep that exclusivity.

  3. I disagree with Dwight. CDMA has proven to be an inferior technology for today’s smartphone devices, limiting you to either data transmissions or voice, but not both concurrently. 4G may help fix that problem, but it is still far from widespread, is only offered by a single carrier (Sprint), and will take years before it can match 3G in carrier choice and coverage.

    I’ve said this for over a year now, but I truly believe the USA needs a third GSM provider to open up the competition, and provide signal on the 2100MHz band. There’s no way I’m going to move over to Verizon when GSM is far superior and compatible worldwide. For that same reason, I believe Apple would be foolish to manufacture a Verizon iPhone that would be useless outside the US.

    T-Mobile will be quicker getting the iPhone than either Verizon or Sprint if you ask me. Unlocked iPhones have been running on TMO for years already.

  4. Here is an expansion of this theory. The reason AT&T is offering early upgrades on June 21st is because they are concerned about iphone customers migrating to other carriers to pick up a new iPhone at a much lower price particulary because of the ease at which numbers can be ported

  5. Jeremiah

    Thanks for posting this James I hadn’t seen this and I glad you posted it, it backs up my same feelings. I think we may see AT&T have a short 2-3 month exclusivity window then a branch out to all carriers.

  6. “The best thing about a new iPhone is all the speculation that runs rampant prior to launch.”

    No. No it isn’t unless you really like reading endless space fillers made by bloggers who love a bit of copy and paste combined with their own made up bulls**t.

    • You make a good point. I remember this site made a big splash about Apple’s lawsuit against HTC, yet I’ve had to visit other sites to learn about HTC’s counter suit and the impending FTC investigation launched against Apple. I think it’s safe to say DS and JK are both drinking the same Cupertino Kool-Aid.

      I have no problem with bloggers being fanboys, but as a journalist you need to be totally unbiased. You can report all the news, or just the stuff that’s favorable to you. This site seems to fall in the latter.