There is a new iPhone coming. You’ve heard, right? Of course you have. There’s been plenty of rumors and speculation regarding the still unannounced device, and considering no one’s expecting to see it until September, there’s going to be plenty more rumor and speculation in the coming weeks. Some of the most constant rumors suggest that Apple is getting ready to finally let the iPhone land on more than two carriers. With this supposed move, that would finally put the iPhone on all of the major wireless carriers here in the United States, and bring an end to a specific rumor mill that’s been going strong since 2008.
But, that’s if everything goes according to the rumored plan. As of right now the iPhone 4 is currently available on AT&T’s and Verizon’s network. The newest model, suggested to be called the iPhone 4S more often than not at this point, will mark the first time that there’s been a multi-carrier launch here in the States for the phone from Apple. But while that’s news in of itself, the biggest news is the fact that T-Mobile USA and Sprint may be finally getting their network subscribers in on the fun.
But, there’s plenty of room for a rumor of this magnitude to fall through. There are plenty of differences this time around, though, as opposed to when these same rumors were swirling around years ago. Unlike then, Apple’s currently not locked into a contract with AT&T, which is evident by the fact that the iPhone 4 is available on Verizon’s network. So, it’s perfectly plausible for Apple to launch the next generation iPhone on any network they so choose. Additionally, a Sprint iPhone 4S isn’t out of the question, as Apple has already proven that a CDMA-based iPhone can launch here locally.
So it would seem that all the ducks are in a row for the launch of an iPhone 4S on multiple carriers. And while everyone is guessing whether or not the device will land on Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s network, there doesn’t seem to be any question about the handset coming out for Verizon and AT&T. But, what if Apple were to take a turn, and actually launch the next iPhone for just Sprint and T-Mobile? We’ve already bandied about the possibility of an iPhone bringing a surge of customers to Sprint’s network, but I think that would increase even more if the iPhone 4S was a Sprint (or Sprint and T-Mobile) only device.
I know, I know. This is crazy talk. But, hear me out. There have been plenty of people who picked up the iPhone 4 for Verizon just a few months ago, and now there’s rumors about a new version of the device coming out before the end of 2011. For Verizon customers, that isn’t much fun on the wallet. But for AT&T subscribers, it obviously makes sense to get a new iPhone now more than a year later. But, with rumors pointing at another iPhone launching in the early part of 2012, perhaps making those AT&T subscribers waiting a bit longer isn’t that bad of an idea.
Reason being, is that the iPhone 4S isn’t being touted as a huge improvement over the original iPhone 4. A faster processor under the hood, the latest version of iOS (which the iPhone 4 will also receive, obviously), and maybe a slightly bigger display. The cameras will probably get upgraded, too. But, for the most part, Apple seems to be moving the next iPhone as a minor update, much like the iPhone 3GS was a minor update to the iPhone 3G. Of course, this is all based on rumor, so Apple could indeed be launching a huge handset come September, but for the sake of this article, we’re going purely off the rumors.
So if the iPhone 4S is a minor upgrade, why not launch it only for Sprint and T-Mobile? After all, this would be the first iPhone to land on these carriers (in the case of T-Mobile, that means officially), and it would indeed bring in plenty of new customers. In fact, with T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s unlimited data plans against AT&T’s and Verizon’s (upcoming) tiered data plans, it may even get a few people to jump their current ship. And then, when early 2012 rolls around, Apple can launch the huge updated hardware, with 4G across the board for all carriers, and then everyone’s happy.
If Apple is launching another iPhone in the early part of 2012, then it doesn’t even matter that the Sprint and T-Mobile customers will be locked into a contract before that other handset launches, because if the rumors of the iPhone 4S launching on all the major carriers is true, then they’re going to run into the same hassles come 2012, anyway.
What do you think of this whacky idea? Personally I don’t think Apple will do this, because it’s pretty clear that people will buy the latest generation iPhone whether they’ve just bought one or not, so Apple’s going to capitalize on that – because that’s what they do. But, I don’t it’s an outright bad idea, though. I think it could work. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.