As of yesterday, Verizon Wireless set tongues wagging as speculation was rampant on whether or not the carrier’s invitations to media for press conference on Jan. 11 means the announcement everyone has been waiting for: the new CMDA iPhone.
Yet, Apple journalists and Mac fans alike wondered if so, why isn’t Apple making the big announcement? Some reports said that Apple is letting Verizon handle the big news so it wouldn’t conflict with anyone thinking Apple was releasing the new iPhone 5 or the iPad 2, but not everyone agreed with that speculation.
Other sources believe that it is more likely that Verizon has its own reasons to be the one sending out announcements to the media. Perhaps part of it was they didn’t want any iPhone announcement to get in the way of them bringing out their new Android handsets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.
Verizon is the largest mobile phone carrier in the U.S. and can handle itself when it comes to handset manufacturers. They control it all on their wireless network and are quick to make sure their handsets are customized to work with their software and services. Unlike AT&T, who made many concessions to get the iPhone from Apple, Verizon hasn’t given Apple control over software or updates. However, it did give Apple a full five years of distribution rights for one of the hottest phones out there – the iPhone.
A mere year and a half ago Verizon may have given over more to Apple since AT&T was taking their customers because they wanted the iPhone. However, since then Verizon has had great success with phones like the Droid, a fantastic Android 2.0 unit that had a $100 million dollar ad campaign. And that was only the first of other Droids that were hot on the market. Other hot-in-demand Droids followed. Verizon was no longer such as needy carrier, and could make it on their own without the iPhone and still hang on pretty well.
Verizon Wireless added 997,000 net customers for a total 93.2 million in the third quarter of last year. A year earlier they had already added 1.2 million net users to make 89 million. In the meantime, Apple benefited with new iPhone launches of the 4 and 3GS and added 4.6 million customers in those two years. That means that even without help from Apple, Verizon still managed to add 4.2 million customers. While that means they didn’t fare as well as AT&T did with the benefit of an iPhone, they still didn’t exactly lose ground either, even though it does mean they could have desperately used an iPhone of their own to help sales even more.
However, Verizon still had the benefit of the very popular and well selling Android phones. Apple would do well to add Verizon to its fold since they are not only the biggest U.S. carrier, but are also on a popular roll with their high in demand Android handsets.
Google has claimed it activated 300,000 Android handsets a day, which comes to a grand total of 27 million per quarter, which is more than analysts predict will be sold for the iPhones during the 4th quarter total shipments. Since every major cell phone carrier has the Android phones, but only AT&T has iPhone, and that means more sales for Android which accounts for more than one third of worldwide sales.
This means iPhone is losing ground to Android already. In fact, ComScore and Neilsen both reported that iPhone sales are flat. ComScore’s report shows that iPhone only gained less than one percent of the market sales in recent months while Android managed to go up 7.6 percent in the same timeframes. The Neilsen scores were similar, also showing Android ahead of iPhone by several percentage points.
So, bottom line? Apple needs Verizon, maybe more than Verizon needs Apple. Plus, the venue in which the meeting is being help is highly appropriate for the situation. Apple knows how to influence Wall Street through rumors and Verizon knows how to influence everyone through proper execution of a situation. That makes New York a great venue because Verizon obviously has something the company wants to saw to Wall Street analysts and investors alike. Plus, Microsoft usually debuts its new products from New York as well.
All in all, no one should think that Verizon would give over to Apple the way AT&T has done. Once an announcement occurs, Verizon will take like a shark to a feeding frenzy to promote its network over AT&T when it comes to iPhone and Android handset customers because they don’t have to rely on just a new iPhone to make them successful.
So, if Verizon’s big announcement on Jan. 11 is about the new CDMA iPhone, the announcement will be for them and their customers, not just another announcement from Apple.