Sprint iPhone said to be in advanced testing stages at Apple HQ

Thu, Jun 9, 2011

News, Rumors

It’s gonna be a busy Fall for Apple. iOS 5 is scheduled to drop alongside a brand new iPhone, and now there are more rumblings of the iPhone coming to Sprint.

Sources are telling 9to5Mac that Apple is currently in the advanced stages of testing the iPhone on Sprint’s network, going so far as to order Sprint compatible cell towers for its Cupertino campus. This, of course, isn’t terribly surprising in light of the fact that Apple did the same thing when it was testing the Verizon iPhone not too long ago.

“The physical design of this device is akin to the iPhone 4 of today,” the report notes, “so this might be the iPhone 4S device with support for all carriers that we have been dreaming up and hearing whispers about.”

Just a few weeks ago, we reported on a curious job listing from Apple looking for a carrier engineer in Kansas City, Missouri – which is just a stone’s throw away from Sprint’s headquarters in Overland Park Kansas. Further, analyst Peter Misek has previously claimed that a device dubbed the iPhone 4S will hit both Sprint and T-Mobile later this year.

9to5Mac also relays that a Sprint optimized iPhone is actively being tested in Apple’s “black labs” while also “making the rounds amongst Sprint’s research and development department.”

Also chiming in is TalkAndroid with a number of interesting rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt. For instance, they also claim that both Sprint and T-Mobile will be getting an iPhone later this year, but write that Sprint/T-Mobile and Verizon/AT&T will take turns getting new iPhone models first. In other words, Sprint and T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone 4S while Verizon and AT&T will presumably be getting a full-fledged iPhone 5 device. We suppose it’s somewhat plausible, but for a company that values a consistent user experience this doesn’t seem altogether likely.

Also of note is a blurb that data pricing will be significantly more expensive on Sprint than it is on either AT&T or Verizon – $89.99/month to be exact.

We can assume this is either Sprint preparing for a massive spike in their data usage, or perhaps extra costs associated with carrying the iPhone. The point is, there will be a different pricing model than what we’re used to for the iPhone on Sprint.

So all in all, tread on these rumors carefully.

We do imagine that Apple is working hard to deploy iPhones to both Sprint and T-Mobile, and we’d bet on a new carrier launch sometime before the busy holiday shopping season. As for whether it will be an iPhone 4S or an iPhone 5 and all of that hullabaloo, well we’ll just have to wait and reserve judgement on that one for the time being.

Lastly, and somewhat comically, you might recall that Spring CEO Dan Hesse has previously likened the iPhone to the “Michael Jordan of smartphones.”



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