Analysts believe iPhone will become non-AT&T exclusive in a year

Oh, Gene Munster. You keep popping up like the loose Cheerios my nine-month-old daughter drops at breakfast. What are you up to this time, you little scamp?

Munster of Piper Jaffray “predicts” that AT&T will lose its iPhone exclusivity by the end of 2010, thereby rendering the company impotent and insolvent. Some contenders for the iPhone throne include Verizon. This ignores the fact that AT&T is fighting like a champ to keep the iPhone until 2011 but it seems the popular perception of AT&T as a pile of fail may put a damper on Apple’s wish to stay put.

Is Munster right? Well there has been a little discussion of a non-GSM iPhone on the Internets. Look at the logistics: Sprint isn’t going to take the phone – they’re wrapped up in Palm right now – and T-Mobile is busy with Android. That leaves behemoth Verizon. Quoth Munster:

“We believe Apple is unhappy with the current status of video on the iTunes Store and is working to change it,” Munster said. “These changes, however, will take time, in the form of lengthy negotiations, in order to bring the rights for TV and movies up to speed in a digital world.”

I think a CDMA iPhone is in the cards, certainly, and I suspect they’ll try something like Blackberry and add a SIM card slot for international roaming. iPhone users are a nomadic lot and I can only imagine the outrage when a bunch of study abroad students turn on their Verizon iPhones and find they don’t work in Florence. As for the CDMA model coming “within the year?” Eh. Don’t hold your breath. The iPhone is selling pretty briskly right now and ramping up production of a CDMA model would be difficult at best.

Take all this with a grain of salt, though. Analysts are notoriously, well, wrong. Rob at BBG said it best when commenting on the AppleTVTV:

Their clients gamble that analysts know more. And sometimes, they do. As often as not, however, analyst clients end up paying someone with few real contacts to tell them the same thing that bloggers with few real contacts have already told the whole world, for the lulz.

Yes, friends, we work for the lulz.

Image from this funny dude