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.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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