Whoa! iPhone 5 release date Sprint "exclusive" -- O RLY?

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - October 4, 2011.

[Updated 1pm EDT: More about WiMAX]

O RLY? (original image by John White)
Want to rock an iPhone 5 at release date? Better switch to Sprint -- or so say the rumors. It seems that Sprint (NYSE:S) may have an exclusive on the new pomaceous shiny, leaving the rest of us with a warmed-over iPhone 4 (or "4S"), with no 4G. Just when we thought we knew what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook will announce, everything changes again. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers' heads spin.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: "That look" from your spouse is universal across cultures...

    Chris Nerney reports:

Sprint...has cut a deal with Apple in which [it] has committed to buying 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years...according to the Wall Street Journal.


Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5 on Tuesday. It will be the first iPhone that Sprint will be allowed to sell. ... But the company is laying a heavy bet on the Apple device...arguably a huge gamble, with Sprint laying down a lot of money up-front.   

   Jonathan S. Geller triangulates, reaching a fascinating conclusion:

Sprint won’t even break even...until 2014, which is surely a huge risk...but why? I have been going back and forth for weeks...on a piece of information...that is so unbelievable, even from a source this solid, that I couldn’t report it. ... [But now] it doesn’t look so crazy.


I have been told that Sprint will be getting the iPhone 5...as an exclusive. And it will be a 4G WiMAX device...[with] Faster CPU...4-inch screen...1GB of RAM...Slightly larger design...but thinner and with a larger battery...iPhone 5 exclusive software...Dedicated Assistant button.   

  But Matt Buchanan calls it an unbelievable fantasy:

How could something so ridiculous be true, in any realm of possibility? ... [E]verything about this seems wrong. The WiMax. The Sprint exclusive. A deal of this magnitude being kept so secret until today.


I will eat my...hand if this is true. And a whole cow.   

While Om Malik says it's "not that crazy":

Apple has to love this deal–it basically ensures a nice revenue stream...even if the world goes into recession...[and] it takes away some of the Android momentum at one carrier. ... The exclusivity...is what reduces the risk [for Sprint].
On an average, in the U.S., average revenue per user for iPhone is ...about $1,080 a year. ... Now if  Sprint manages to match Verizon’s performance...it can attract about 3 million iPhone customers...[which] works out to about $3.2 billion in revenues...a nice 10 percent bump.
[C]razy yes, but not completely loco!   

Whatever the truth, Jonny Evans predicts long lines:

Everyone is going to want this phone...
  • millions of existing iPhone owners just itching to upgrade...
  • millions who have never owned an iPhone who want to...
  • millions using other smartphones who plan to switch. ...
In typical Apple fashion, these things are going to sell out fast...as new Apple CEO, Tim Cook, ruefully tells investors: "We can't make these fast enough."   

But does the rumor mean a WiMAX iPhone? Greg Bensinger says not (slightly snarkily):

According to people familiar with the company’s plans, the [iPhone 5] won’t operate on [LTE] or WiMAX [4G] networks...[which] promise speedier downloading...of episodes of television programs [and] cute baby photos.
[T]he device will work on 3G networks...[but] AT&T says its HSPA+ network has 4G-like speeds.
It remains to be seen what bells and whistles [it] brings, but it’s sure to be another big hit for Apple.   

Kelly Hodgkins thinks that's "not surprising":

Earlier this year, Tim Cook confirmed in an earnings conference call that Apple would delay adopting LTE. ... The current LTE radios were too bulky to fit [Apple's] strict design requirements.
WiMAX is also an unlikely candidate. ... Sprint is expected to turn off its WiMAX network and switch to LTE in [2012].   

And Finally...
"That look" from your spouse is universal across cultures
[Hat tip: Josh Halliday]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Shop Tech Products at Amazon