Despite a report Monday suggesting Verizon Wireless could offer an iPhone this summer, some analysts see such a future as unlikely. Instead, if Apple produces a CDMA iPhone, the Cupertino, Calif. company probably has another customer in mind: China.
UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard J. Um calls a report that U.S.-based Verizon would get the CDMA iPhone as “unlikely.” Instead, Um believes the reported CDMA Apple handset could end up in China with China Telecom or Japan’s KDDI.
Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported Apple would unveil two iPhones, including a CDMA version destined for Verizon. The carrier has long been seen as the probable second carrier should AT&T lose exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the United States.
Although the analyst disputes the destination of the reported CDMA iPhone, Um agrees on many of its expected features. A check of industry sources found the next iPhone would include a rear touch panel, along with the current front touch screen. The new handset would sport a 5 megapixel camera enabling high-definition video recording and playback, Um told investors Tuesday. As to price, the analyst expects the new handset to cost the same as the current iPhone 3GS, between $199 and $299. However, the 3GS would fall to $99, the same price as the current iPhone 3G.
Another analyst believes that a Verizon iPhone would profit Apple, the new CDMA iPhone likely will first go to China or Japan. RBC Capital Market’s Mike Abramsky said a subsidized Verizon iPhone could boost iPhone sales by 5 million to 6 million during the first year. The analyst believes a second iPhone mentioned in the WSJ article could be an entry-level handset priced between free and $99. Apple could sell 2 million of the handsets this year and 12 million in 2011.
The entry-level phone could lack some of the features of its big brothers: including a faster processor, greater memory, larger screen and other items.
“Our best guess is AT&T retains exclusivity on the iPhone through 2010, with a Verizon Wireless launch either in early or late 2011, depending on whether they choose to wait for LTE or launch a CDMA-only version,” Morgan Keegan analyst Travis McCourt added Tuesday.