As we wait several weeks or months before Apple announces an iPhone for Verizon Wireless, there have been several arguments brought up as to why Apple won’t necessarily do it.
The reasons range from politics to technology to infrastructure. One of the smarter takes is a recent post from former Apple employee Matt Drance, who outlines several possible problems with an Apple-Verizon tie-up.
Rather than go through them one by one with counterarguments, we’ll just say this: The benefits of selling the iPhone at Verizon so completely outweigh every single hurdle that there is simply no way Apple can continue its AT&T exclusive for much longer.
As long as Steve Jobs and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam don’t erupt into a personal feud of egos, this partnership is inevitable — a matter of “when” and not “if.”
- The smartphone industry (and mobility in general — tablets, etc.) is the future of the computing industry, and today’s winning platform(s) may be in control for a decade. Apple can’t afford to sit out this fight for another year, or it could lose forever.
- Winning at Verizon is a very important battle in the smartphone war. Verizon Wireless is the top U.S. carrier by subscribership, and it’s very clear that Verizon subscribers are NOT fleeing in droves to the iPhone at AT&T. (The majority of iPhones sold at AT&T are to existing AT&T subscribers.) Selling the iPhone at Verizon will be the ONLY way for Apple to reach millions of potential buyers.
- Apple’s main competitor, Google, is currently winning HUGE battles at Verizon. Until the iPhone is on sale at Verizon, Android is the obvious smartphone platform of choice for Verizon customers. If anything, Apple needs to sell the iPhone at Verizon just to derail Google’s success there.
- Apple has a lot to gain financially AND strategically by selling the iPhone at Verizon. It could sell millions of iPhones for hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental profit in the first year, while gaining market share and platform strength in the process.
- The costs of selling the iPhone at Verizon are simply NOT too high to deter Apple. These include some R&D, some added supply chain complexity, some added inventory and marketing complexity, some service quirks.
So, when’s it going to happen? Probably NOT at Apple’s WWDC conference in a few weeks. But perhaps this September, when Apple’s annual iPod event occurs. Or at the latest, early next year. (Update: Plugged-in Apple scribe Jim Dalrymple says he doesn’t expect a Verizon iPhone until early 2011 at the earliest, and it could be further delayed. We’ll defer to him on this one. But if it’s longer than that, that’s another year for Google to take a strong hold on Verizon’s huge subscriber base.)
But Apple NEEDS to do it, so expect it.