CDMA iPhone 4 codenamed N92, in engineering verification test for possible January (Verizon?) debut


Daring Fireball has revealed that the CDMA iPhone 4 is codenamed N92 and is entering the engineering verification (EVT) stage, one step before the design verification test (DVT) stage, which is right before manufacturing -- and right on time for a possible January 2011 launch.

The device itself is supposed to be identical to the current GSM iPhone 4 (codenamed N90) with the exception of the CDMA radio. While Verizon is the logical and persistent rumored carrier for the device, Sprint is also a possibility. Although not identical to US CDMA (don't get us started on CDMA2000 vs WCDMA vs whateverCDMAwhatever) China and Korea, among others, are also possibilities.

But again, the smart money -- the millions and millions of units sold smart money -- is on Verizon.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber points out why:

The key bit: “At the critical juncture […], when they should have gone for market share, they went for profits.” I think this encapsulates Jobs’s philosophy since taking over Apple in 1997. Take the high end of the market first, establish a brand and presence, then steadily start to expand.

If they’re at that juncture with the iPhone now, expansion means CDMA. And in the U.S., it means Verizon.

He thinks there will be lineups. We do as well. What do you think?

[Daring Fireball]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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CDMA iPhone 4 codenamed N92, in engineering verification test for possible January (Verizon?) debut


I wonder if they are going to sneak in an antenna "fix" for the CDMA version or if they are going to provide a free case? Will Verizon get a white version before AT&T? Questions, questions....

Great. Just bought 3 Bolds for the office. Just can't get ATT to work in our building. Got tired of having to stand outside with my 3G.

I've got to believe a stipulation of Verizon carrying the phone is some type of fix for the antenna issue. Verizon has a very rigorous testing process for their phones.
I'm in an area with AT&T EDGE and I'm at whits end. I'm giving them until the end of the year, and if they haven't installed 3G in my area I'm selling my 3G, paying the ETF with what I get from the sale and moving over to Verizon. It's nice to know that one way or another I will have 3G speeds on my iPhone by January.

Please oh please let this be true. I'll be sticking with AT&T, their upgraded network, faster 3G speeds, simultaneous voice and data. I hope a ton of you leave for VZ so the network will even be better. Don't let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out.

Agreed, seeing is believing. Will this be a totally new phone, or just the same one configured to work with verizon. If you get one in Jan, and they come out with a super duper new one in July as usual, will verizon let you change out after only six months? Something is going on. Did anybody notice AT&T offering a $15.00 data plan. Have not checked it out but interesting.

Apple should just put the phone all networks. They've already established them selves as an household name. I know there are deals they have to work out the way they did with AT&T but I'm sure they can come to an agreement with the networks. AT&T might be begging for exclusivity but their focus should be on other things like working with other companies to create other smart phones that will fit their network best.
The only phone I really see AT&T being known for is the iPhone... and a couple blackberries. The Aria is cool but it doesnt get as much exposure as it should.

Could easily also lump in KDDI from Japan... They are CDMA as well...
Will be interesting anyways to see of this turns out to be true... I'm sure by them vzw will have data caps... And they are even stricter on tethering... I got unlimited data on AT&T and can tether thanks to JB... not sure how easy that would be on a CDMA iPhone...
In any case... Will be an interesting next few months as the rumours keep coming...

Also - I wonder how updates would be handled... The beauty of the iPhone is the lack of different models making fragmentation (like with Android) a problem sometimes...

@ Charley
Just understand that Vzw 3G is just slightly faster than AT&T Edge so it might as well be Edge.

Oh please would someone put this rumor to death. There is absolutely no reason for Apple to do the R&D to cell a CDMA iPhone. I know that the handful of people out there that want an iPhone but will not do business with AT&T or only have EDGE want Verizon to get it, but it is just not going to happen. CDMA is going to be obsolete in the USA in 3-5 years. Verizon is rolling out LTE this fall, why would Apple make a soon to be obsolete CDMA cell phone? Sorry, if you are on Verizon, enjoy your Droid's that is what you have and will have at least until 2011.

Apple is a company that consistently looks to the future. Why on earth would they put vast resources into something that will quickly become obsolete? Their products are not disposable like almost all other comparable products, which is what makes Apple better.
Do the math and it looks like whatever CDMA device they're working on is headed overseas...


Apple is a company that consistently looks to the future. Why on earth would they put vast resources into something that will quickly become obsolete?

So they could sell you another one.
Every new iPhone is met with lines of EXISTING iPhone users drooling to upgrade even if it means paying an early termination fee. The trick works over and over and over again.
Why would they stop now?

verizon would be better off not taking on Apple, why sacrifice the best network with everyone flooding in taking it down. Yea, go to Sprint they need the help to stay above water in new contracts and sales.

Why are there so many of you who think its hard or expensive to engineer an existing GSM phone to be CDMA?
Why do so many suggest it would take "vast resources", huge amounts of R&D and cost tons of money?
Do you not understand how phones are developed these days? Do you no know that one phone call to any chip manufacturer and you can have a CDMA chip with the same pins, same size, same power requirements by tomorrow morning at 7AM if your name is Steve Jobs?
Do you not understand this R&D was already done by the chip manufacturers?
Do you not understand that Apple has had a CDMA phone in the lab for years?
Most of you think Apple is the best engineering company making the best smartphones on earth. Why then, to you suddenly believe it would be a huge and expensive task for them to knock out a CDMA phone from designs they have sitting in drawers for years?
CDMA has a minimum life of 8 years. It takes time to move every tower to LTE.
And by that time Apple will call up those SAME chip companies and order a couple hundred million LTE chip sets.
Its not that big of a deal.
Curs you Chad Garret for making everyone think this is a difficult task.

Ahh the old hold differently joke. Never gets old. Wait yes it does. Get a life dude. Seriously.

With all the Verizon-Google/Android love affair, where does that position Apple? Must be a CDMA phone for markets outside US. China is a very huge potential.

It may be time for comment registration at TiPb. If we are all iSheep, why read this site?
The Wilson Rothman article was commentary not news, it said so in the first word of the story. Also, who's got the better record at Apple rumors? That hack, or John Gruber?
Find ONE time where anyone connected with Apple or Steve Jobs said that CDMA was dead end technology. You can't, because no one has said that. Also, it's not Chad Garett that started this meme about Apple only caring to produce GSM, it was Daniel Eran Dilger, and he's about as off-base with mobile tech as you can get. The likely reason for not producing CDMA iPhones up to this point was exclusivity. Now that it's expiring, they are free to go to Verizon. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Unless verizon updates their network before then, I don't see it happening. They CAN'T handle the talk+data at the same time on their network. I could be wrong...but I think sprint CAN handle the talk+data...if I'm wrong, let me know

i have a hard time believe verizon will get an iphone anytime soon since their pushing droid so much...i believe sprint as their hero phone is what the evo? i dont even hear about that thing anymore. either way att has been good for me so im sticking with it no matter what happens. the data while on voice thing is a major thing to..its conveinant to be able to do so

Please stop saying CDMA is dead. CDMA and GSM will both have to be used as voice until they have VoLTE. I'm sure that Verizon has added SVDO to its network or is going to, so using data and voice will be posible.

Sick and tired of this story. Just get the phone done and get it overwith. Or come out on the record saying it'll never happen.

Verizon is a downgrade from AT&T but i hope apple follows through. Two directly competing networks means more features for us.

@Piper I've had both Verizon EVDO and AT&T EDGE and I can assure you it's not even close. At best on EDGE I get maybe 120 kbps down, but that's not sustained, I average about 80 kbps down. On EVDO I averaged about 700 kbps down and bursted up to 1.5 kbps down.
I'll take a technology that is roughly 10x faster. I do realize EVDO has a much lower ceiling than AT&T's 3G, but if I don't have 3G around me what good does it do me? The other thing that's going to play into this is that Verizon's EVDO is draped across pretty much the entire country. So far the smaller areas in my state that have gotten AT&T 3G have just had the town covered and not the surrounding area. If AT&T doesn't mirror Verizon's EVDO coverage, I may still jump ship because I would like to be able to listen to streaming audio while on the road, not just use the 3G while I'm in that particular town.

I don't a CDMA iPhone prototype is unthinkable and there probably a few floating around in test mode. LTE is a year away for Verizon. AT&T has the iPhone 4 and let almost everybody re-up for 2 yrs. Verizon is doing very well with its droid campaign. There are few people at this point who would dump AT&T for Verizon to get an iPhone. Those who do leave were going to leave anyway iPhone or not.

At&t better hope sprint doesn't get it, I might not leave for just as high Verizon but I would leave for the sweet spot price Sprint

Hey Jason!
We'll take your beloved iPhone 4 and make it better! We'll show you how it's done on a REAL network that doesn't drop calls! We'll even convince your daddy, Steve, to fix that damn antenna for our CDMA version while AT&T's GSM model still has the Spock Touch! Since you like whining a lot, maybe if you whine enough to your Big Daddy Jobs, maybe he'll fix your phone,too. ;)

I don't trust any of these rumors anymore. While there are compelling hints and tips to believe this is true, there are many other factors that are hard to reconcile. I'm giving up the ghost on these rumors and just switching to AT&T already. If the coverage is as bad as some accuse it of being, I will just return the stupid thing and resign myself to a Droid X or Incredible I suppose. I'll be damned if I buy another Blackberry however.

I know for a fact that the iphone 4 is currently being field tested on the verizon network.
A close friend who works for verizon and tests devices has been using the iPhone on verizon for the past three weeks.
She also had the droid x two months ago.
She can't give me a solid date, but I'm told that the January date is much later than the actual planned release.

We'll see man...anybody can say that. I know a Sprint employee who is testing the CDMA iPhone on their network for 2 weeks now too...LMAO

while CDMA might be on its way out, it will take a while... VZW might be moving to LTE, but voice will remain on CDMA for a while, and Sprint as well... 4G/WiMax is data only I think...
besides, there are other countries in the world where CDMA won't die as quickly... China Telecom... KDDI (au) in Japan... Korea (SKT and KTF)... some South American carriers...

Haha I'm not suprised seeing as how android releases a new phone every two weeks. They should be ahead. They have numerous phones on different carriers. iPhone is on carrier and the os is on 1 phone. And it's kind of sad honestly that it makes you happy lol.

@Jason.. do you think Miami will win more than 72 games this year as Van Gundy predicts?? personally, i think it's all a bunch of steam from Van Gundy to derail the Heat so the Magic will prevail in that conference.. it'll be fun to watch though..
anyway, i almost forgot... your iPhone sucks. thanks.

i guess you're nor really a NBA fan then huh?? do you get out much and play sports from time to time or do you live for tIpB?? anyway, i guess you're not agreeing with my analysis of the Heat vs the Magic for this upcoming season.. but let me be the first to say the i don't think the Heat, even with Lebron, will be victorious this year.. i'm sorry that makes you mad Jason, but YOUR team will not win this year..
...however, in regards to your phone "sucking", that's a fact NOT opinion. i did extensive research on this matter at Wiki.. please see for yourself..

Lmao tebow just give it up. I have a life outside of tipb yes. And I do get outside. It's yourself that should be worried because usually it's the people with no life who come to sites about a certain product just to bash the product and people who like the product. I'm not even going to waste my time with wikipedia. And yes that is your opinion. Other people on the Internet share your opinion yes. That doesn't make it a fact.

@Jason... i guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.. and i'm talking about the Heat vs the Magic of course..

Time to reread my post, never said anyone at Apple said CDMA technology is dead. Verizon is beginning to kill it later this year, its called LTE. Exclusivity does not end in January 2011. Why do you think that Apple wants to do business with Verizon? Verizon has never wanted to meet Apple's demand for user experience. Look at the iPad, the vast majority of people swore it would be Verizon, um it is AT&T. Looks like your straightforward thinking is very crooked line to me.
It takes more than a simple radio swap to make a new phone. A software rewrite is required and there is testing involved. That takes R&D on Apples part and that costs Apple money. Do they have a CDMA iPhone working? Well, they had computers running Intel chips for years, but the iPhone is only been around since 2007. Maybe they do, maybe they don't but it would still take some development. Also, iPhone has been a GSM phone so it does not seem to make sense when there are GSM carriers in most countries to bother to make a CDMA phone.

@scottae316 -- "iPhone has been a GSM phone so it does not seem to make sense when there are GSM carriers in most countries to bother to make a CDMA phone."
True. But almost 50% of the iPhones in the entire world are sold in America.
Maybe it's the fact that there are 300 million people in America... but whatever. The iPhone sells the most in America, so the demand is clearly there.
The Verizon iPhone would sell in similar numbers to the AT&T iPhone... which we've already determined is the best selling iPhone in the world.
So, what should Apple do? Invest in making a CDMA iPhone? Or just ignore 92 million new customers in their largest market?
It doesn't bother Motorola or HTC to make CDMA phones... why would it bother Apple?
If Apple could double their iPhone footprint in America... the largest iPhone nation in the world... why wouldn't they?

Verizon is NOT abandoning CDMA and will not for 10+ years. It is the core backbone of their network. CDMA 1X and EV make calls, send texts and recieve data fine.. 4G LTE will compliment 1XEV networks for a very long time. calls/texts will NOT go over LTE for many years. why just throw away a perfectly good network.. LTE will be for data and data only.. new handsets that have LTE will use 1X for calling and texting and LTE for data.
so it does make sense to make a CDMA iPhone.. especially since next year they can release a CDMA/LTE hybrid phone and sell even more of them after they just sold everyone millions of CDMA only phones.