Han Hoi Precision will be filling an order of 15 million CDMA iPhones, while Pegatron Inc. is adding 10 million. Those phones reportedly will ship to Apple in 2011.
The CDMA manufacturing rumor is significant because it works with Verizon (VZ) and not AT&T (T), with whom Apple has an exclusive deal to offer iPhone service contracts. The story at CENS also drops the name of China Telecom (CHA) as a possible CDMA iPhone provider. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Apple and Verizon would be offering a CDMA phone starting in early 2011 – if the manufacturing rumor is true, then these orders would be building the phones to prove the Verizon iPhone rumor.
Who knows, though: We’ve been hearing about a Verizon iPhone pretty much as long as there’s been an iPhone. It doesn’t matter how many news stories come out and where they come from, until we’ve all got a Verizon iPhone in front of us, we’ll never know.
Although a Verizon iPhone seems like it could be imminent. Today marks the start of Verizon selling Apple’s iPad in its stores. Verizon still isn’t allowed to sell iPad 3Gs or put the iPad directly on its network – all that is still reserved for AT&T – but customers get Verizon’s MiFi wireless hotspot bundled with iPads they buy, so they can still use Verizon on a month-to-month basis with a regular Wi-Fi iPad.
But while, on the surface, Apple letting Verizon stock its iPad looks like a vote of confidence and possible indication of a burgeoning relationship, consider that AT&T stores also started stocking the iPad today, and that Verizon isn’t actually allowed to put iPads on its network. Other retailers like Amazon (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY) and Target (TGT) are now selling iPads in their stores, so suddenly the excitement surrounding possible Apple/Verizon love evaporates.
Still, hopefully if two Taiwanese manufacturers really are making CDMA iPhones, they’re doing it for a reason and not just falling victim to a rumor or prank like the rest of us.