Sprint agrees to buy 30 million iPhones, will sell the iPhone 5 exclusively?
Tomorrow is the big day. After many months of speculation and rumors, Apple is set to unveil the next iPhone. Or will there be two new iPhones, a cheaper 4S and an all-new iPhone 5? As usual with Apple-related stuff, some rumors said there will be two new devices, some pointed to just one.
One thing that has consistently popped up over the past few months was that Sprint will be getting in on the iPhone action. This would make it the third US carrier to sell an Apple-made smartphone after AT&T and Verizon. However, we may be in for a gigantic Sprint-related surprise tomorrow.
First of all, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint is willing to bet the company on the iPhone. Or better put, it’s willing to bet its future in order to be able to sell the iPhone. Apparently, the Now Network has guaranteed to Apple that it will purchase between 30.5 and 32 million iPhones in the next four years. That’s more than $20 billion worth of iPhones. Sprint will have to buy them regardless of whether or not it can sell them at that rate. This reportedly was what it took for Apple to agree to sell its device(s) to Sprint. Oh, and because this is such a big investment, Sprint may not make any profits on the iPhones it sells until 2014.
That in itself is big news, but BGR decided to weigh in on the situation and present us with a bombshell. According to what the site describes as a reliable tipster, Sprint may get an exclusive on the iPhone 5. And yes, this rumor once again tells us that there will be two iPhones coming tomorrow. This information was given to BGR a while ago, but at the time it seemed too preposterous to be true. In light of Sprint’s total commitment to the iPhone, which WSJ has now uncovered though, it’s starting to make sense. Be advised, though. You still need to take this with a huge grain of salt. If you have that ready, here are the supposed details about the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S according to BGR’s source.
The iPhone 5 will be a WiMax device and will be exclusive to Sprint until the first quarter of next year. Then it will be launched on Verizon and AT&T as a 4G LTE device. In the mean time, it may show up elsewhere in the world with HSPA+ connectivity. The iPhone 5 will have a CPU faster than the A5 in the iPad 2, a larger, 4-inch touchscreen, 1 GB of RAM, it will be thinner than previous iPhones and will come with a bigger battery, it will have 32 GB of storage, and some exclusive software and APIs.
The iPhone 4S will come with a low voltage A5 processor (a slightly tweaked version of the unit found in the iPad 2), an 8 MP rear camera with 1080p HD video capture support, a FaceTime HD front-facing camera, NFC, and a metal or premium plastic case. The iPhone 4S will come in two baseband variants. One will have GSM/UMTS/HSPA connectivity for AT&T and international carriers, the other will have CDMA and international GSM/HSPA – this will be what Sprint and Verizon will be selling, and yes, it will be a ‘global roaming’ device. A ‘world phone’.
Okay, so to sum this up, Sprint will be selling two iPhone models in the near future, with the iPhone 5 being exclusive to it for a while. After which AT&T and Verizon will step in too. Internationally, things may be different and both phones may launch everywhere at the same time.
If it gets the iPhone 5 exclusive, Sprint could definitely sell a lot of Apple devices very quickly. And since it will probably offer unlimited data (unlike AT&T and Verizon), it may be able to make a good number of people switch carriers. So that target of 30+ million iPhones over four years suddenly doesn’t seem impossible to achieve. It still is an enormous risk on Sprint’s part to guarantee $20+ billion in sales for Apple, but if this pans out it will probably reinvent Sprint. So, for the sake of competition in the American wireless space, let’s hope the Now Network knows what it’s doing here.
If it’s doing anything at all, of course. The countdown to Apple’s event tomorrow has started. Stay tuned.