A Sprint to the Finish
American phone owners got happier when Verizon became the second mobile carrier to offer the iPhone 4. When the iPhone 5 model launches, it looks like Sprint will join in the party, and its stock price has shot up in reaction to the news.
With the next model's launch now looking like early October, while most of the hype might be about the phone, the telco war will also be closely monitored. With Steve Jobs now retired, expect Apple to be a lot more dynamic in its pursuit of markets and customers.
While that's good news for customer choice, it opens up a bag of questions about whose iPhone models will be 4G-enabled and whose will be fastest. With some evidence that Apple is setting up 4G equipment in its stores, it seems more likely than not that the iPhone 5 will offer 4G, but out of Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, which has a weaker 4G WiMAX offering, who will be the fastest?
UPDATE: We're now seeing rumors of a deal between Apple and T-Mobile as well. This could be a result of Apple aiming to end the idea of exclusivity among telcos, and also the need to be appealing to the widest possible market.
Sprint is in talks to boost its 4G offering, but may look the weaker at the iPhone's launch. For sure, the bragging and 4G hype-heavy commercials will be a big part of all the telco's advertising, but it's largely down to your location that will decide where you want to go with for your service.
Apple, of course, is the big winner with an estimate that Sprint will help it sell an extra 6 million iPhones and further dent the high-end ambitions of Google and BlackBerry, whose new BB7-range is shipping.
The iPhone 5 Rumor Mill
The latest snippets of information suggest that both the iPhone 5 and (possibly) a less-expensive iPhone 4 model will be unveiled at the end of September, for sale in October. Apple Insider reports that TV advertisements are being filmed now, and will be ready to air around that time. Some new components have been spotted, but nothing that hints at dramatic changes.
On the technical side, recent posts suggest that the iPhone 5 will support both CDMA and GSM networks, allowing users to roam the globe and use any network they come across. Apple's iCloud is nearing the end of its beta, ready to accept users, while beta version 6 of the iOS 5 system that will power both the new iPhone and iPad 3 was released last week, and further suggests 4G will be in the devices.
Over in the courts, Google's purchase of Motorola has generated lots of stories that will do little to end the constant patent litigation, although it could force a stalemate that sees most parties packing up and going home. A recent Apple patent suggests that future iPhones screens may benefit from an improved process for a better, longer-lasting fingerprintless coating.