The mythical Verizon iPhone could become reality this January, as Apple is reportedly finishing the prototype for a CDMA smartphone. The news comes from Daring Fireball's ever-scoopful John Gruber, who says that N92 is the codename for an engineering verification test unit of a Verizon-bound iPhone 4.
In the wake of the recent batch of countless Verizon iPhone rumors, Gruber, usually reliable for Apple-related scoops, speculates that the Cupertino company will unveil its CDMA version of the iPhone 4 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, with sales starting at the end of the month.
Sources told Gruber that the Verizon iPhone prototype is not in production yet, but it is still at engineering verification testing (EVT) stage, a step before the device verification test (DVT) status (like the lost iPhone 4 prototype) -- the stage prior to mass production of the device. Gruber says the EVT stage is "right about where you'd think it would be if it were scheduled to go on sale in January."
Yes to CDMA, But Verizon-Only? Maybe
The CDMA version of the iPhone 4 is not necessarily Verizon-bound, Gruber says. In the U.S. it could be released on Sprint as well, and it would also work with Canadian CDMA carriers.
There are more than 164 million CDMA subscribers in North America, more than 36 million in Latin America, and more than 300 million in the Asia-Pacific region, according to figures from the CDMA Development Group. Instead of targeting only the U.S. Verizon subscribers, Apple could target the huge CDMA market in Asia, whereas Latin America's CDMA subscriber figures are not negligible either.
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