Apple is developing a version of the iPhone for Verizon as well as a new device for AT&T to launch this summer.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has launched a new iPhone every June or July since introducing the device back in 2007. But the new model for Verizon, with CDMA capability, is notable because AT&T has long had an exclusive deal for Apple’s popular device, giving it a competitive edge over other rivals including Verizon for the last three years.
The deal is set to expire in 2010 but AT&T was in discussions to get an extension until 2011.
But now sources familiar with the situation say Verizon’s iPhone is being produced by Pegatron Technology, the contract manufacturing arm of Taiwan’s AsusTeK Computer. The other iPhone, a GSM-based device, is being manufactured by Hon Hai Precision Industry, which assembled Apple’s previous iPhones.
Both Verizon and AT&T versions, rumored to be called the iPhone 4, will feature an A4-class chip, a 960 by 640 pixel touch screen display, a front-facing camera and run iPhone OS 4.0 software with third-party multitasking, differing only in frequency technology.
Pegatron is planning to start mass production on the Verizon iPhone this September, but it is unclear when the carrier would launch the handset.
Apple, which doesn’t actually make most of its products, hires manufacturing specialists who have extensive operations in China to assemble its gadgets based on its iPhone designs. The arrangement frees Apple from running complicated, labor-intensive factories, and cuts production costs, which help lower prices over time.
AT&T has gained millions of new subscribers from the iPhone. But complaints about the carrier’s network reliability have given Apple reason to seek additional distribution from rival operators.