When the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 was announced in January, many were certain that it would be a huge hit for Verizon. Disgruntled AT&T customers would flee by the masses and flock over to a more reliable network. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, and now there are rumors that Apple might be cutting CDMA iPhone 4 orders due to sluggish sales.
Market watchers were originally optimistic about Pegatron’s performance in 2011 as the company landed orders for CDMA iPhone 4 from Apple, but as the company reported losses for the first quarter of 2011, the market watchers are turning conservative about CDMA iPhone 4 shipments in the future as volumes may not be as strong as expected.
If we’re going to play the speculation game, however, it’s also fair to say that any cuts in production or orders might have to do with the iPhone 5, which is rumored to be a universal device supporting both CDMA and GSM 3G networks. With the iPhone 5, Apple would be killing two birds with one stone: it would only have to produce one device to support just about every carrier on the planet, and it would also reach a relatively large CDMA market worldwide, which had remained untapped by the Apple smartphone the past few years.
However, it is a bit unfair to say that CDMA iPhone sales through Verizon have been weak. Sales have been steady and consistent, something we’d expect from a not-so-huge launch, when many didn’t anticipate it and were still trapped in contracts. As time goes on, if the iPhone 5 turns out to be not what we’d expected in terms of universal radio support, I’d expect sales to improve.
For now, we’ll just have to sit and wait to see whether the next generation Apple smartphone is on track for summer, or if it will be released in the fall as it’s rumored. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get dragged to next year.