updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu October 7, 2010
Verizon iPhone to go CDMA only, no V Cast shop
More details have surfaced today regarding Verizon's iPhone plans in a new leak [sub. required] that explain its network support and Verizon's reasons for turning down Apple's plans. Expanding on its earlier mention of Qualcomm supplying chips, the WSJ said the model would only support CDMA and EVDO rather than become a dual-mode device with GSM and HSPA as well. Apple had reportedly considered the option but turned it down for unknown reasons.
Qualcomm is due to have an EVDO/HSPA+ chipset that would theoretically offer no compromises, but the design has largely been planned as a fully integrated processor and not just a stand-alone cellular chipset. Apple is likely to want its A4 chip used in all models.
The ability to both talk and use data simultaneously has been an obstacle for any CDMA iPhone without LTE 4G, but rumors have suggested Apple and Verizon may have been waiting on voice over EVDO Rev. A (VoRA) to make its move. Apple and AT&T have touted the GSM version's ability to keep a call running while checking the web or an app.
The sources describing the chipset to the newspaper also revealed that many of the initial objections stemmed from Verizon's desire to implement its own store. Verizon had wanted the iPhone to use its V Cast stores, such as those for music and video, the tips said. Apple has traditionally blocked any download-to-own stores on the iPhone, in part due to competition but also since it hasn't implemented a way for third parties to add to an iPhone's media library.
Verizon has exploited Android's openness in this area by promoting its own V Cast stores on its phones running Google's OS. Officials have insisted that V Cast won't undermine Android Market, but the carrier had previously developed a reputation for promoting its own services at the expense of others. At the time the initial AT&T (then Cingular) deal had been reached, Verizon was still deliberately disabling Bluetooth data and other hardware features to drive users to its paid services.
The early opposition had also focused on Apple's unwillingness to sell iPhones through all of Verizon's usual retail partners. Apple has often maintained tight control over which stores are allowed to sell its devices, but it may have overcome the objection by expanding to Best Buy and Walmart, covering the two key areas outside of official stores.
It's unclear if Apple compromised in any way or what Verizon's reasons for dropping objections might have been, but both companies now have incentives to do business. Apple is known to be looking for a way to blunt Android's rapid growth, which is widely believed to have been possible by creating a "safe" carrier for Google in Verizon. The carrier in question has been successful through Android but is still lagging AT&T in growth as the iPhone has helped AT&T close some of the gap in share, even after Verizon's buyout of Alltel put it in the lead.