The Journal cited sources familiar with the matter that indicated the phone would arrive in time for Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter. The Wall Street Journal’s “people familiar with the matter” line is typically code for an inside source that is feeding the Journal information about a new product or company news.
Sprint is the last major carrier that does not carry the iPhone. Apple sold more than 20 million iPhones in the third quarter this year and it sold 8.4 million iPhones in the third quarter last year. The company finally launched the phone on Verizon in February, 2011.
The new reports are contrary to rumors that the phone would arrive in September, at the end of the company’s fiscal third quarter. The iPhone 4 launched on Verizon halfway through one of Apple’s fiscal operating quarters on June 24, giving the company an incomplete picture of how well the iPhone 4 was doing compared to previous iterations of the smartphone.
The iPhone 4 currently retails at $199 for a 16-gigabyte model and $299 for a 32-gigabyte model, and both require a contract with wireless providers AT&T and Verizon. That puts the phones out of the price range of many devices that run Google’s operating system, Android, which can cost as little as $50.
There are also reports of Apple building a cheaper iPhone 4 alongside the iPhone 5 that would likely replace the current low-end 8GB iPhone 3GS, which retails for $50 with a two-year contract. The 3GS is considered dated and is nearly two years old, while new Android devices come out daily that have better technical specifications than the iPhone 3GS and sport a similar price tag.
[Image via MacRumors]