Sunday, August 15, 2010

iPhone 4 CDMA - More Features to Come?

We are seeing more and more evidence that a CDMA iPhone is on the road to launch in Q1 2010. There are several reasons why Apple is looking into a CDMA iphone, including the fact that AT&T's U.S. iPhone Exclusive is likely to end in 2010, which will let Apple increase its market share in the US, and will also open new markets for the iPhone, mainly in China. 

However, the iPhone 4 CDMA launch comes in a very unique position to Apple because:
1. It is the first time Apple is releasing a different flavour of the same product and not a new one.
2. It is the first time Apple is releasing a "version 2" of a prodcut where there is a known fault ( AnntenaGate ) in version 1.
3. It is the first time no white iphone is present when a newer product is launched.

Lets analyse each of the items and their potential effect for the iPhone 4 CDMA.

Different flavour, same product:

Up until now, each new iPhone release included both improved HW and improved SW features. Replacing the GSM baseband for a CDMA one does not make this iPhone a new "generation" or a new product.  What can Steve Jobs is able to say about this product on its presentation? Is it "magical"? Is it "revolutionary"? If only replacing the baseband alone, this is just a different flavour, same product. 

Feature #1: Should we expect new HW/SW features other then CDMA? 

Version 1 of the product have a known fault

Well, we all know about the antenna issue. This is the most significant fault that Apple had with the iPhone yet. Now, imagine that you were Apple. You don't want to modify the iPhone 4 design in order to fix this issue, therefore the solution you are suggesting is a free silicon case. But wait - you are about to release another version of the iPhone 4. For that, you already made changes in your design ( CDMA chip instead if GSM ). Wouldn't you add a simple fix to solve the antenna issue?

Feature #2: Should we expect a plastic patch that fix the antenna issue in iPhone 4 CDMA? 

No White iPhone 4 is Available

Why is the absence of a white iPhone 4 related to the iPhone 4 CDMA? Well, in a matter of fact they are closely linked. As to this date, not a single white  iPhone 4 has been shipped to costumers, due to continues problems in fabrication. Add to that the fact that a new design ( the CDMA one ) should be shipped soon as well, and you got a mix of pressures - on the one hand, need to solve the white iPhone manufacturing issues, and on the other hand prove a new design and start with its manufacturing as soon as possible. There is some logic in combining the two efforts together, having a white iPhone 4 CDMA available before a black one. This way Apple kills two birds with one stone. Unless the white iPhone 4 issues are solved by Nov 2010, the time when Apple should start manufacturing the black iPhone 4 CDMA, there is a viable option that the two manufacturing paths will be combined.

Feature #3: White iPhone 4 CDMA.

To conclude: In order to have the "wow" effect for the iPhone 4 CDMA, to fix an earlier version fault and to combine efforts with the white iPhone fabrication, there is a chance that the Jan 2011 iPhone will be iPhone 4, CDMA, with new HW/SW features, some sort of patch for the antenna issue, and in white color.

Wild guess? maybe. Anyway, it will be interesting to see...

Photo Credit: re-ality

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