Sprint is said to be preparing to sell the iPhone 5 by setting up new cellular equipment in Apple stores, according to a story in Beatweek Magazine earlier this week.
Citing an anonymous source, Beatweek said that Sprint is installing network repeaters at Apple retail stores to ensure a strong signal so that potential iPhone 5 buyers can test the device on the carrier's cellular network.
The source, who lives in Austin, Texas, is quoted as saying "one thing I can tell you is that the electrical contractor that I work for is contracted to install Sprint 'repeaters' at The Domain. There is a Apple Store at The Domain. One of the 'repeaters' is to be installed INSIDE the Apple Store. There is to be a total of 5 'repeaters' installed. The equipment is CDMA and 4G (Sprint)."
The Apple store located in the Domain is also in Austin, Texas. Sprint uses CDMA for its 3G network, the same as Verizon Wireless. But analysts and other industry watchers have expressed doubts that the next iPhone would be a 4G device, citing Apple's concerns that the technology isn't yet mature. Apple and at least one iPhone carrier have reportedly been testing 4G LTE internally, but an actual 4G iPhone isn't likely to surface until next year.
A story from The Wall Street Journal last month claimed that Sprint would start offering the iPhone 5 along with AT&T and Verizon Wireless when the new phone makes its debut, which is expected in October. Such a move would make T-Mobile the only U.S. carrier without the iPhone, at least until AT&T manages to pull off its merger deal.
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With the iPhone 5 rumored to be launching soon, Apple suppliers in Taiwan have been ramping up production, industry sources told DigiTimes in a story published today. Foxconn has been making 150,000 units per day, the sources said.
iPhone 5 shipments are expected to reach 5 million to 6 million in September and exceed 22 million units in the fourth quarter. After the new iPhone debuts, DigiTimes' sources suggest that suppliers will ship fewer iPhone 4 handsets and CDMA-only units during the final quarter. Some reports say that the next iPhone will be a dual-mode "world phone" capable of running on both CDMA and GSM networks.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for Sprint told CNET that the company had no comment.
Corrected at 11:00a.m. PT to clarify that the Apple Store in Austin is located in the Domain.