Apple iPhone 5 4G to be Sprint Exclusive. Snubs AT&T and Verizon

October 4, 2011 at 4:50 am

Mac Rumors mockup

Some stunning news is making its way across the web right now, fueled by a bit of fact and a bit of rumor.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint has entered into a deal with Apple to the tune of $20 billion.  This deal will give Sprint 4 years worth of iPhones, that’s about 30 million units.  The money Sprint’s thrown at this deal will them in the hole until at least 2014, making this a huge risk for the nation’s 3rd largest carrier.

What’s even more striking is the information reported by BGR about why Sprint has made this deal.  According to BGR sources, Sprint has entered into a contract with Apple to bring the iPhone 5 in 4G WiMax form exclusively to their network, snubbing both AT&T and Verizon.  That leaves the US’ two largest carriers with the iPhone 4S for at least a few months, then launch an LTE version of the iPhone 5 in early 2012.  The iPhone 5 would also be available world-wide as an LTE-ready device.

The news of an exclusive Sprint iPhone 5 didn’t really make sense, until the Journal reported on this big Spring deal with Apple.  This is a move sure to cause rage for iPhone users on the 2 largest networks in America, many of whom have been holding onto early iPhone models and waiting for upgrades.  BGR’s source details what we can expect to see introduced tomorrow.

The iPhone 4S for AT&T and Verizon will feature:

  • A low voltage Apple A5 CPU (it won’t be the same as the iPad 2 chip, clock for clock).
  • Updated front and back camera sensors. FaceTime HD in the front, 8-megapixel 1080p HD video recording in the back.
  • Multiband 3G Qualcomm chipset — North American & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for AT&T and Global carriers, North American CDMA & International GSM/UMTS/HSPA bands for Verizon and Sprint.
  • NFC support.
  • Metal or “premium” plastic on the back case.
While the Sprint-exclusive iPhone 5 will feature:
  • Faster CPU.
  • Larger 4-inch screen, similar to LG’s NOVA display but with a higher resolution.
  • 1GB of RAM.
  • Slightly larger design overall, but thinner and with a larger battery.
  • 32GB of storage.
  • iPhone 5 exclusive software and APIs (Assistant).
  • Dedicated Assistant button, possibly integrated with the new home button, “think gestures or a two-stage button like a camera shutter key).
All of this should come out at tomorrow’s event, which will be hosted at 10am PST.  You can catch all the news out of Cupertino with us when it happens!
A new report in the Wall Street Journal cites industry insiders denying the claim of 4G WiMax, but not necessarily a Sprint exclusive.
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