Fragmentation Mystery: Why Is iOS 4.3 Listed For GSM iPhone-Only?

Today at their event in San Francisco, Apple showed off the new iPad 2 alongside a new version of iOS: 4.3. But the end of walk-through was a bit odd. On screen, Apple showed that iOS 4.3 would be available for free on March 11 (iPad 2 launch day in the U.S.) for the iPhone 4 as well — but only the GSM version.

That seems to suggest that the Verizon iPhone, which uses CDMA technology, won’t be getting the update — at least not on March 11.

As this was the end of this part of the presentation, Apple didn’t say anything else about this. You can bet will be digging into this more shortly. But this is a bit confusing. The only reason I can come up with is that the CDMA version will just take a little bit longer to come out due to the slight difference of the hardware.

Plus, the Verizon iPhone is already running a different iOS version (4.2.6) than the other iPhones out there. And that includes one of the main iOS 4.3 features: personal hotspot.

But there are still other features in iOS 4.3 not included in iOS 4.2.6, such as the faster JavaScript engine and the AirPlay improvements.

Will the Verizon iPhone have to wait for iOS 5 (likely due this summer) or will iOS 4.3 just be coming at a later date? Again, more to come on this.

Update: And the new iOS page on confirms the GSM-only version (see below).