Rumor Rumblings 8/17

So what is the MoD tracking in terms of propaganda for this week?

More hints of the Verizon iPhone –

New source this week. Boy Genius Report source indicated that in the current iOS 4 code there is a reference for several unknown devices. The code in iOS 4 allows the devices to auto activiate and bypass iTunes. BGR contends that similar code entries have shown up previously when new iPhones/and even the iPad were being tested just prior to launch. Now BGR indicates that the two mysterious devices are the CDMA iPhone and iPad 2 (iPad 2 already? more on that in a minute). Now BGR is a very solid rumor site when it comes to the world of cellular phones but has been a bit hit or miss when it comes to Apple content. Still, it’s a solid new direction for the rumor and when combined with last week’s data from TechCrunch and Daring Fireball, the iPhone CMDA rumor machine is in overdrive.

Now about that iPad 2 thing that BGR was talking about-

Across the Pacific, very unreliable rumor from Chinese site Economic Daily rehashes the iPad 7 inch rumor again. The Google translate version of the article is a little hard to follow, but it seems to indicate that Apple is going for an even lighter iPad which they hope at a lower price point can attack the e-reader business while the bigger iPad does damage to the netbook market. Again, the supplier channel appears to be the source of this leak to Economic Daily. Now, MoD has previously commented on why a second smaller iPad for Q4 does not make a lot of sense unless Apple is holding some major iOS software development tricks behind their back. However, BGR’s story adds some intrigue to this rumor since it’s really way too early for Apple to be field testing the 2nd generation iPad 9.7 inch screen. The current sized iPad won’t get an update until next spring. So if BGR is right, what iPad 2 is being tested? A logical guess could be a Verizon CDMA 3G iPad, or even an LTE/CDMA iPad. A smaller iPad costing around $350 could be a very interesting product. Especially in Asia where compact/smaller screen devices are preferred. If there really is an iPad halo effect, then a lower price point might be a great entry for a wave of new customers to Apple. Apple did take the iPod to a lower price region after a while while modifying capability to combat competitors. A smaller screen iPad at a lower price point might make things even tougher for the crowd of Android tablets this Christmas season.

RIM’s brand new Torch already starting to flicker?

Sorry for the bad pun but the breakthrough Blackberry device that was supposed to stop the defections to Android/iPhone has landed with a massive thud. WSJ is reporting good but not amazing sales of 150k (but not in line with the expectations that RIM created for this device’s launch), and unlike the iPhone and certain Android phones the Torch is readily available. In what seems to be a gross over reaction, the device is already selling for half price through It’s hard to know who is eating the $100 margin hit with that sale. All MoD knows is that if the latest iPhone had its’ price slashed in half a week after launch the tech media would be savaging Apple like rabid feisty rodents.

Back to the Verizon iPhone rumor. –

The rumor is starting to reach critical mass at least from a public attention standpoint. Usually, a rumor like this is isolated to the tech media/tech readers. However, the buzz around this device has reached such a level that Verizon users are waiting to buy new phones in anticipation of such a device, and AT&T customers in poor service level areas are holding off on the new GSM iPhone 4 in hopes of moving to the Verizon network. If such a device is really not going to happen anytime soon, Apple/Verizon need to make some kind of announcement. According to recent survey data published by CNet, nearly 34% of current AT&T users surveyed are waiting to upgrade iPhones until the iPhone becomes available on other carriers (which is survey speak for Verizon). In addition, in a separate survey, 51% of current Verizon users indicated that they would be likely/somewhat likely to purchase a Verizon iPhone. In addition, there’s additional populations on Sprint and T-Mobile that would consider moving. If these surveys indicate real buying patterns then there appears to be massive pent up demand for the iPhone on additional carriers. Now, MoD will say anecdotally that every one he knows that doesn’t have an iPhone generally indicate that they are waiting for Verizon.  And in more bad news for RIM, a lot of those people have Blackberry phones. This kind of untapped demand could easily catapult Apple ahead of Android’s recent charge and ahead of RIM in the all important US smartphone market. An announcement at CES in January for a January launch seemed like the kind of Apple showmanship type idea. A better strategy for Apple might be to give customers 90 days lead time of such a launch (October announcement of January launch) and keep a wave of customers from purchasing competing devices this holiday season. With such a demand, 90 days would also allow for an adequate amount of production time to fill a huge pre order volume, in addition provide time for Verizon to get ready for this onslaught.

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