It appears that after robust sales in the first few months of the iPhone 4's life on the Verizon network, demand might be slowing down for the CDMA device. That's despite new NPD data showing a major impact from the Verizon iPhone, including a hit to Sprint's results.
In a report discussing first quarter 2011 losses at iPhone supplier Pegatron, Digitimes noted that "market watchers are turning conservative about CDMA iPhone 4 shipments in the future as volumes may not be as strong as expected." Pegatron was expected to ship about 10 million iPhone 4s in 2011, but recent estimates are in the range of 5 million units.
There are several hypotheses about the slowdown in production of the CDMA-only device. First, demand for the Verizon iPhone may have cooled off when widely publicized reports noted that the carrier's 3G network was noticeably slower than rival AT&T's, or when would-be switchers were hit with a barrage of "no simultaneous voice and data" warnings.
Next, it could be that Apple has a true GSM/CDMA "world phone" in the works for later in 2011 and is just clearing the channel for the new model. Finally, many Verizon customers may realize that the iPhone 4 will soon be replaced by a newer model and are just waiting for the next-generation device before switching.
Meanwhile, 9to5 points to the latest NPD report showing Apple holding an astonishing 14 percent of the US smartphone market, behind only LG and Samsung. The Verizon iPhone launch certainly helped push that number, along with AT&T and Apple's aggressive discounting of the iPhone 3GS after the iPhone 4 hit the market. Since NPD is looking at historical sales data while Digitimes is looking ahead to supplier and component forecasts, it is possible that both stories are right: the Verizon iPhone had a killer launch, but it may not have legs through the summer if the iPhone 5 is coming along.