updated 09:10 pm EDT, Tue October 4, 2011
Apple adds 2nd Japanese carrier with FCC filing
Apple quietly slipped through two key moves in sync with the iPhone 4S on Tuesday. Moving far faster than rumors, it planned to bring the new iPhone to KDDI on the same October 14 release day as SoftBank. The move both ends SoftBank's three-year exclusive on the iPhone in Japan and is the first known CDMA iPhone outside of the US.
The step is important for Apple, which was just recently outnumbered by Android in Japan after both domestic brands like Sharp and foreign brands like Samsung began taking an interest in a market previously hostile to smartphones. SoftBank, while crediting much of its success to the iPhone, is just the third largest carrier, KDDI and NTT DoCoMo are the second- and first-largest carriers in Japan and have had to turn to Android without Apple.
On cue with Apple's launch, the iPhone 4S has also appeared in an FCC filing. Although not directly marked as much, it has a new A1387 model number in step with Apple's naming scheme and also has a "secondary cellular antenna" that would be in line with the 4S' new antenna design.
Apple has usually had day-and-date FCC filings with each iPhone release. The company is rare in successfully arranging for confidentiality at the FCC to end the day the phone is public. [FCC via Engadget]