Verizon iPhone Final Unofficial Confirmation

So while MoD was back in the home country attending a series of high level meetings at White Hall  Wall Street Journal (Apple’s go to leak source) last week confirmed that Apple is about to go into production of the CDMA iPhone. Apple would only spend two months building CDMA iPhones for one reason, to have massive supply ready for a January Verizon iPhone launch. Now the announcement of such a device is going to happen at a January event, but more rumors will show up between now and then. Verizon won’t officially leak/confirm this (in fact Verizon might even try to cast doubt on the launch, why hurt Q4 sales) . Steve will announce it at an event controlled by Apple.

But today’s announcement of Verizon stores selling the WiFi only iPad is the last unofficial confirmation that the Verizon iPhone is coming that we really need. Why is this new announcement a predictor of the coming CDMA iPhone?

1. Apple is getting Verizon’s supply chain ready for Apple’s products. It’s a test of inventory management systems, and all the logistics of connecting two companies’ various systems tied to a retail launch.

2. Apple is getting Verizon’s stores ready to sell Apple products. Sprint/ClearWire both have  MiFi offers (4G or 3G portable routers) related to the iPad, but Apple has not authorized Sprint or Clear to sell the iPad Wifi device directly. So there’s some relationship difference between Verizon and Apple and Apple and Sprint/Clear. AT&T stores are also getting the iPad. Sense a pattern here.

3. Apple already has massive distribution channels for the iPad, adding WalMart and Target in the last two weeks. Verizon cannot sell the 3G iPad which uses GSM, so Verizon is offering a bundle of the WiFi iPad and a portable CDMA router. So why add Verizon stores, which can only realistically sell the iPad with this MiFi offer which would appear to have limited sales impact/interest? See reasons 1 and 2.

This limited offer makes no sense unless Apple is prepping Verizon for the massive iPhone launch. If the sales opportunity is minimal, why is Verizon going through all the logistical hurdles of adding the iPad? Massive iPhone launch in January. This whole iPad launch is nothing more than a dress rehearsal for the bigger main event. Apple and Verizon both want the January iPhone launch to go perfectly. Verizon could legitimately see a rush of about 5 million users in the first 30 days depending upon Verizon’s upgrade terms offered to existing customers.  Consider the iPad offer, a soft launch for both companies because the real iPhone launch might dwarf AT&T’s volume this June.

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