Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone will be at Verizon (VZ) in January, according to a new report that examines the supply chain. Also in today’s App Industry Roundup, a market launch for the Droid 2 appears imminent and how one company reinvented itself by riding Apple’s coattails.
“Going on record” with Verizon iPhone
This time it’s different. That’s what TechCrunch writer Steve Cheney says about a new iPhone to Verizon rumor, and he is “going on record” to say it will happen in January.
Cheney based his argument on supply-chain developments, noting that “sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December.” The current iPhone uses GSM technology, and Cheney says he is familiar with how the ordering cycle of products indicates when a new iPhone or even an iPad — based on screen orders — fluctuates through the supply chain.
“I can’t say with 100% accuracy that an iPhone will hit Verizon store shelves in January, but all of the signals point that way, and it would give Verizon’s CEO some interesting things to talk about in his CES keynote,” Cheney writes. “I may be proven wrong, but based on my history dealing with components and selling to Apple, a Verizon-compatible iPhone looks to be a done deal.”
Of course, a big order of CDMA chips could indicate a deal is looming with Sprint, too, as that wireless carrier uses the same technology as Verizon. But here’s the bottom line about the iPhone and other wireless carriers — and I’ll go on record with this:
The iPhone will be available at all four major U.S. wireless carriers by 2012. Some may get it sooner, but all will have it sometime that year. And the reasons have nothing to do with supply chain issues or different wireless technologies. It is as simple as this: competition. Android phones are outselling the iPhonebecause they are available at every U.S. wireless carrier. You can argue which phone is better but it doesn’t matter. Once the iPhone is offered more broadly, it will double or triple sales.
By that time it will be difficult for the iPhone to catch up to sales of Google’s (GOOG) Android-based product, but it’s not a race. It’s just smart to offer the phone where more people can buy one, and Apple’s not dumb.
Here comes the Droid 2
Or maybe it’s already here? Frankly, I’m pretty confused by the Motorola (MOT) Droid 2, as I thought the sweet Droid X — which went on sale in July at Verizon — was the Droid 2. Apparently not, as leaked images from a store display posted on Engadget show.
The Droid 2 has a slide-out keyboard, just like the original Droid, and a price point of $199. The phone was rumored to be going on sale August 12, but it appears to have already arrived at Best Buy stores and is being readied for advertising. The phone will appeal to Android buyers who don’t want a touch-screen only controlled device, like the Droid X. That’s the approach Blackberry (RIMM) is taking with the Torch, available later this week at AT&T stores. The original Droid is now out of stock, by the way.
And there’s this nugget: a version of the Droid 2 is being geeked out for Star Wars fans.
The Apple economy
The market for iPhone, iPod and now iPad cases and accessories is huge, as one recent report pegged that ecosystem of product makers to be valued at $3.5 billion annually — and that is before the iPad hit the market. If you have bought an Apple gadget in the last decade, you’ve probably bought at least three accessories, perhaps a case, new earbuds or portable speakers.
In Monday’s New York Times, Eric A. Taub profiles one of these third-party accessory makers, SDI Technologies. It’s a good read on how the introduction of a gadget could transform a company. SDI makes the iHome product line but it started out in the 1950s as a maker of transistor radios. Now descendants of the founders run the company and follow Apple’s lead to great success. It’s a good profile and offers insight on how to create a diverse product line around innovations from a single (and not always helpful) company.