Apple's next generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5, is likely to be supported by Sprint and T-Mobile networks, thereby making it possible for the device to work with all national carriers, Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen has predicted.
Larsen suggests that Apple is in the process of making an iPhone that will be able to run on both GSM/CDMA network and hence, it's only a matter of time that Sprint (CDMA) and T-Mobile (GSM) will be supporting the device.
While we remain uncertain regarding the next-generation iPhone's specs and features, we believe the most noteworthy change could be the device's ability to run on more networks, specifically Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S, Larsen said in a research note to clients on Tuesday.
Our belief is that if Apple is already going through the trouble to make a device that has the ability to work on both major network technologies, why not include all the necessary spectrum bands to make one device work on all carriers, Larsen said.
Larsen's prediction falls in line with Citadel Securities analyst Shing Yin's, who predicted last week that with AT&T and Verizon doing away with unlimited data plans, Sprint, being the sole remaining national carrier with an unlimited data plan offering, could offer an attractive proposition for more price-conscious users (a demographic that we think is increasingly important to Apple following the rise of Android).
We believe Sprint could capture more than its fair share of iPhone sales, especially if it gets the new model at the same time as AT&T and Verizon, Yin wrote to his clients.
Meanwhile, Larsen's prediction succeeds in reinforcing the growing rumors that iPhone 5 will be launched sometime in September this year.
Last month, Bloomberg reported that the new iPhone will have a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and support for iOS 5. However, it will look similar to the current iPhone 4.
BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman also said Apple will launch a new iPhone in September. However, he refuses to call it iPhone 5. Instead, he says, Apple will call it iPhone 4S and it would only feature modest upgrades.
Earlier this month, Taiwian's DigiTimes reported that iPhone suppliers are getting ready to help Apple produce millions of iPhone units and Apple has especially placed an order for 15 million iPhone 5 units as part of September release.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) later repeated the rumor by reporting that Apple has asked its suppliers to build 25 million units of its next generation iPhone by August in preparation for a third-quarter launch.
The reason why everybody's excited about iPhone 5 launch is because the new iPhone is expected to boast of impressive specs such as 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, panoramic photo capture capabilities and 1080p full HD video capture and playback capability, powerful A5 processor in the range of 1.2-1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, edge-to-edge 4-inch display, 4G connectivity, iOS 5, wireless charging capability, better battery life and improved speech recognition features.
Also, keeping in line with Apple's reputation as a company which is always on the bleeding edge of industry design, iPhone 5 is expected to feature a radical new case design, which will incorporate a SIM-less design, aluminum metal backing of the original iPhone instead of the current glass surface back piece and a teardrop design, like the new iPod Touch, with the top being thick and then tapering to a skinnier bottom.
An improved antenna (no more Antennagate, yay!), 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and stronger gaming capabilities supported by multi-core A5 processor and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture have also not been ruled out.
What do you think? Should Apple partner with Sprint and T-Mobile or should it just stick to AT&T and Verizon? Leave your comments below.