updated 11:05 pm EST, Wed January 12, 2011
Leak has CDMA iPhone beyond Verizon
The CDMA iPhone should reach beyond the Verizon model in the States to land at some of the most important Asian carriers, part suppliers may have revealed. Noting that only Foxconn-made models would go to Verizon, the insiders added that Apple's new contractor Pegatron would be making the new version for additional carriers in China, Japan and South Korea. The Digitimes claim didn't say when these countries would get the new model.
If accurate, the networks will have been already confirmed by the CDMA format, which is often used only by one major candidate in each country and has been previously been hinted at in rumors. China would be served by second-largest provider China Telecom, while Japan's own second-largest, KDDI, would back up SoftBank. Korea would be supported by its largest carrier, SK Telecom, and could create a significant threat to local electronics giants LG and Samsung.
Samsung, best known for the Galaxy S, has reportedly been one of the most upset about the presence of the iPhone in Korea and has gone so far as to retaliate against KT for carrying the GSM iPhone and enjoying early success. It has usually counted on SK Telecom as an ally but might be undermined in its safest territory if an iPhone deal goes ahead.
Indiai has also been raised as a possibility for CDMA iPhone expansion through Reliance and Tata, but it wasn't mentioned in the new details.
Regardless of destination, Apple is now thought to be more optimistic still about its production numbers for the CDMA edition of its smartphone. Production for the first quarter of the year, ending in March, may have been raised from an earlier five or six million to as many as seven million based on expected demand. The increase could have Apple shipping 22 million iPhones of all kinds if GSM estimates were true. Such levels would put it unambiguously ahead of RIM and could blunt Android's growth by reducing the number of 'safe' carriers where Google can sell largely unopposed.
Estimates that Apple may be absorbing some profits could prove real as well. The phone could be priced between $190 to $200 in raw manufacturing costs, or at least slightly more than the GSM version's $188 estimate from June. CDMA chipsets, dominated mostly by Qualcomm, are typically more expensive than their more ubiquitous GSM counterparts.