updated 09:50 pm EST, Fri November 6, 2009
iPhone may have CDMA option next year
An analyst report sent today hints at Apple producing an iPhone that would work with both GSM and CDMA networks. The OTR Global note obtained by AppleInsider claims to know of an iPhone in development with a hybrid Qualcomm chipset that will support the two normally incompatible standards. It would support UMTS-based 3G on carriers like AT&T and would presumably support EVDO-based 3G on Verizon and similar CDMA carriers.
Dual-mode phones like these have existed for years but typically require two chipsets and often have extremely limited UMTS and HSPA 3G support, often at the behest of CDMA carriers that want to prevent customers from switching to a local UMTS/HSPA rival like AT&T.
The same researcher claims that Taiwan-area contractor Pegatron would build this phone to diversify Apple's suppliers away from Foxconn alone and that a smaller model will be involved. The news corroborates rumors of a 2.8-inch screen last summer as well as talk of an "iPhone lite" destined for Verizon. If true, OTR Global's note would have the device ship in summer of next year, or just in time for the third anniversary of the iPhone and the possible end of AT&T's extended exclusivity deal with Apple.
Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have often been contentious and have regularly contradicted Apple's own stance by suggesting Apple would make a CDMA-only device; the Cupertino-based company has dismissed CDMA as a "dead" standard and warned that a CDMA version would force it to produce two separate devices when it only wants one. A hybrid that supports both GSM and CDMA would let Apple continue to make one product but support Verizon customers and potentially Sprint, Cellular South and other previously overlooked carriers.
Alleged smaller iPhone prototypes from summer 2008; the 3.2-inch example hasn't been mentioned in the new report (via iLounge).