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Verizon to Snag iPhone, Apple iSlate Tablet?

The fabled Apple Tablet, or ‘iSlate,’ is back in the rumor mill again with chatter that Verizon Wireless will be the 3G carrier for the device. Oh, and Verizon’s getting the iPhone too, according to analysts.

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall is saying that unnamed sources have told him that it’s a “certainty” that Verizon will support the tablet. However, so will other carriers, he said – it will be a non-exclusive.

After months of speculation as to its existence, the iSlate is expected to be unveiled at an Apple Inc. event in late January in San Francisco. The device, with its 10-inch screen, is not an iPhone, not a netbook, but somewhere in-between. It is rumored too to exist at the center of a nebulous web of functionality that includes e-readers, enterprise functionality, gaming devices, GPS navigation, music, video and more.

Meanwhile, UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote that a CDMA version of the iPhone will appear in the next product refresh cycle in the summer. “We believe a CDMA iPhone is also in the works, though Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing,” he said in a research note – meaning the two need to work out the discrepancy between the actual handset cost to Verizon vs. the carrier’s consumer subsidy and ROI model.

Verizon, the nation’s largest mobile carrier, would bring millions of new potential customers to Apple. However, some analysts have long maintained that making a CDMA version of the iPhone makes little sense from an R&D perspective for Apple.

The iPhone currently works on GSM networks like AT&T Inc.’s. While the United States has an abundance of CDMA carriers, that’s not the case in other developed nations, where GSM deployments far outweigh CDMA networks. Further, apart from emerging markets, CDMA is seen as a sunsetting technology as LTE comes on board – the 4G path taken by most major CDMA carriers. With GSM carriers also embracing LTE, embedding that technology could be a better investment for Apple’s engineering department, analysts have noted.


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