updated 06:45 pm EDT, Wed August 11, 2010
iPhone 4 for Verizon gets N92 badge and more
Apple's long rumored CDMA iPhone is now more than just a skunkworks project and has a codename, tips revealed this evening. John Gruber now understands that the device is known internally as N92 and is already at the Engineer Validation Test (EVT) stage. As just a step before the Design Validation Test (DVT) stage like that of the stolen iPhone 4, its progress is appropriate for the often-rumored January Verizon launch.
There are no guarantees the CDMA model will ultimately ship or necessarily that it will reach Verizon. Apple could reach Sprint, US Cellular and most other smaller carriers in the US, and it could be intended primarily for international carriers like China Telecom or some Latin American providers. With 92.1 million subscribers, however, Verizon is usually considered the largest CDMA carrier and would almost certainly be the primary target.
Apple is now believed to have had a change of heart on CDMA. It once described the standard as "dead" since a clear majority of cellular networks use GSM and HSPA, but the company has reconsidered after recognizing length of time to transition to LTE for 4G and, more importantly, the threat of Android. Verizon is the world's largest Android carrier and has helped Google thrive with HTC and Motorola phones being "safe" from Apple.
Analysts believe a Verizon iPhone could flatten Android as some customers may only be choosing Android as AT&T's network quality and the cost of switching carriers discourage them from jumping networks to get an iPhone. While AT&T has tried to minimize the risk of losing customers, Gruber and others expect that AT&T could lose tens or hundreds of thousands of customers almost immediately.
"I think there are going to be lines -- especially in places where AT&T service is poor, like New York and San Francisco," the tech writer said. "I think they could sell at least one million on Verizon over the opening weekend. Who knows how many loyal-to-Verizon customers are just biding their time, waiting for an iPhone, though? Could be more."