The lack of a Verizon (s vzn) iPhone was costly for Apple (s aapl) over the course of the last year, and it doesn’t look like the Mac maker wants to let that cost build up much longer. Sources from overseas suppliers have reported that Apple is aiming to put 3 million CDMA-only iPhones into production in December of 2010.
That kind of production time line would put the new Verizon iPhone on track for an early 2011 launch. Finally switching to Verizon could very well be your New Year’s resolution. Adding 3 million CDMA-only devices to their production queue would bring Apple’s total iPhone output for the quarter up to around 22 million units. Good numbers for a device with a crippling design flaw.
While I’m always happy to see Apple moving away from exclusivity in any market, part of me wonders if the company couldn’t just have made devices that are both CDMA and GSM-capable, like BlackBerry’s Tour. As the proud owner of a factory-unlocked iPhone 4 here in Canada, I enjoy being able to choose my service provider. Canadian cellular service providers all switched to GSM networks before the Vancouver Winter Olympics to ensure they’d see a chunk of the profits from the resulting European tourists, and also to ensure their networks could support the iPhone, since it was that much of a revenue star for Rogers, the original exclusive carrier.
Sure, a CDMA device provides choice for U.S. iPhone users, but it’s a choice that puts you on a single path until the device’s end-of-life. It means more money for Apple — as if they needed it — but less consumer freedom. Apple has been wresting control from carriers regarding contract details and pricing, and even network infrastructure in some countries.
A CDMA iPhone is a step backwards in that regard, and in a larger sense, maybe a bit of a loss for the average consumer, even though it’s a definite win in the short-term.
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