updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue March 30, 2010
CDMA iPhone due to slow move to 4G
More details have emerged of Apple's plans for a Verizon-ready iPhone. Some of the sources behind the previous story have since claimed that Apple has backtracked on its proclamation that CDMA was dead. The company "changed its mind" when it realized Verizon's move to 4G wouldn't be as quick as hoped, the insiders said.
Verizon has long said it would have a 4G network based on the LTE standard by this year, but it has pushed back the rollout from its initial first-half target and has also warned that actual phone service won't be ready at all in 2010. Until early 2011, all devices will be data-only hardware like modems and routers, both because of the power-thirsty nature of early LTE chipsets but also because Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is still in testing.
The first LTE phone, the Samsung r900, will only use 4G for data and could prevent an iPhone with the same chipset from transitioning over to 4G calls without firmware upgrades.
Even without Verizon, Apple would have several existing incentives to add a CDMA handset. As many of its existing markets already have multiple GSM carriers and are at least partly saturated, CDMA would let it expand in areas where the most significant alternatives use the alternate cellular technology. Besides Sprint, Verizon and smaller regional carriers in the US, the iPhone could also reach China Telecom, KDDI in Japan and other usually minority providers throughout the world.