We have yet more buzzing about Verizon getting the iPhone someday Real Soon Now, which is usually greeted by choruses of disparagement, like this gem from MobileCrunch:
CDMA, the system used by Verizon and Sprint, is about as international as American beer—both are considered weak and both are reviled. Picking AT&T in this case was the only way Apple could reach a mass audience quickly without having two separate phone SKUs on the books—one for us and one for the rest of the world.
The crack about American beer is emblematic of the logic flaw here: it’s a funny, easy shot which relies on a Bizarro-world version of American exceptionalism: only us ugly Americans would use CDMA phones and drink Bud Light Lime. Of course, a lot of American beer is actually pretty good. And more relevant, there are about 500 million CDMA users worldwide, most of whom are not in America. Verizon’s 160 million users or so are nothing to sneeze at. But across the Asia-Pacific region there are 280 million CDMA users. Just like America, China’s biggest telecom company is using CDMA. And they’re growing. Fast.
Now, this isn’t in and of itself a “see, that means it must happen!” case. 500 million users is a lot, but there are over 4 billion GSM devices. If you have to pick one or the other, it’s obvious you pick GSM, and if you can only build one at a time, you pick GSM first. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to blow off the rest.
On the flip side, Apple has never been hesitant about blowing off standards when they decide they don’t fit their product vision. (A whole lot of the hatred directed at them is arguably over that specific aspect of the Apple corporate culture.) It’s quite possible that Apple has decided they’ll focus on LTE for long-term future development, as—eventually—that will replace both GSM and CDMA.
So, bottom line: “Verizon iPhone” wouldn’t be the point. The point would be “CDMA iPhone.” The former is a subset, and not even a majority subset, of the latter. Getting it on Verizon would be a goal, but it sure as hell wouldn’t be the only goal.
And for Christ’s sake, stop drinking Bud Light Lime.