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Apple queuing up millions of Qualcomm chips for CDMA iPhone

updated 12:00 pm EDT, Sun August 8, 2010

Apple orders CDMA chips for iPhone in January

Apple is edging closer to a Verizon iPhone in January with a large order of CDMA chipsets, insiders reportedly said on Sunday. The company is queuing up "millions" of Qualcomm chipsets for a production run to start in December. The requests are coming early, TechCrunch said, as lead times for chips can often require months to generate enough supply, even when other components can be made more quickly.

It would be the same iPhone 4 design as now, the sources said, but it's speculated Apple might have an internal insulator to prevent finger contact from bridging the antennas. Any such changes would presumably reach GSM models, possibly before January.

While conservative compared to estimates of manufacturing done by the fall, the rollout would be consistent with a launch at the start of 2011. As all iPhones are currently GSM models, Apple would need to start up a separate production run to accommodate a significantly different design. A CDMA device would not only need a different chipset but would eliminate the micro SIM card slot if it's not a dual-mode device.

Qualcomm is virtually necessary in any CDMA iPhone plans. Current partners like Infineon and Skyworks often don't produce any CDMA hardware, but Qualcomm virtually dominates the category.

Critics have questioned the value of an iPhone using CDMA when the majority of carriers worldwide use GSM and even CDMA carriers plan to switch to GSM networks' 4G standard, LTE. Apple executives once saw CDMA as "dead" technology. However, most carriers switching to LTE don't expect to have significant coverage until 2012. Carriers such as Sprint and Verizon in the US, as well as China Telecom and a handful of other major international providers, still account for hundreds of millions of potentially addressable customers.

Apple is also likely eager to blunt Android's growth by putting the iPhone on networks where Google's platform was once considered safe. About half of US Android phones are on Verizon and have enjoyed sustained strong demand thanks to heavy promotion, even over Verizon's previously favored BlackBerry lineup. A CDMA iPhone would lure customers who were either deterred by the high cost of switching to AT&T or who were actively avoiding the network due to quality or support issues, especially in trouble spots such as San Francisco.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +2

    Bring it on...

    And in WHITE please...

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010

    -13

    comment title

    I see Apple is headed to bring iPhone to the worst, most monopolistic standard on the planet. I'd rather see an AMPS iPhone then a CDMA iPhone, ANYTHING is better then that evil monopolistic SIMless standard. I hope Verizon goes bankrupt before they ever get the phones out, same with Sprint. Evil pieces of c***, if they want an iPhone make a gosh damned HSPA network like Bell, but no, cant do that, gotta stick with monopolistic piece of s*** CDMA.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +5

    Facepalm...

    It would be the same iPhone 4 design as now, the sources said, but it's speculated Apple might have an internal insulator to prevent finger contact from bridging the antennas. Any such changes would presumably reach GSM models, possibly before January.

    How can you "insulate" something on the inside that is touched on the "outside"? Sorry, this whole thing has been BEATEN TO DEATH. There is nothing wrong with the iPhone 4 antenna, they made an engineering decision and trade off for better overall reception, and that's the end of it.

    Coincidentally, there was a post some time back on Reddit by a Ph.D. in Electromagnetics who discusses the iPhone 4 antenna if anyone is interested.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/city5/iphone_4_sensitivity_to_fingers_explained_by_a/

  1. Bearcat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    -2

    But.....

    I wouldn't complain if Verizon got the iPhone in Jan. I can get new phones then. But I thought I read somewhere that the CDMA chipset physically wouldn't fit inside the space allocated in the iPhone. Can't remember where I read that though.

  1. Salsa

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 2003

    +2

    re: Butt...

    "...I read somewhere that the CDMA chipset physically wouldn't fit inside the space allocated in the iPhone..."

    Bearcat, I think you read that from the Wired article.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    0

    Time to kick some serious Android a**...

    Guaranteed to slow down Android market share for a few quarters at least and boost Apple revenue quite a bit. One statistic I'd like to see is how many Android users will drop their smartphones and switch to iPhones when it's available at Verizon. See how many Android users are just settling for another smartphone because they don't want to switch to AT&T.

    My main concern is will Apple be able to keep up with demand or will there still be shortages. Being able to fill only half or less than half of demand won't do at all. I only say this because analysts will look at some theoretical sales number and Apple won't be able to reach because of low inventory and that will mess up quarter estimates and likely be reflected in lowered share prices.

  1. stenniz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    +3

    Bye Bye android!

    My wife is just waiting for the Iphone to come to verizon, we keep nursing her old phone along hoping to get a new Iphone. I also will probably switch to Verizon even thought I can't stand them. I currently have at&t for my iphone now. Its just that most of our relatives have Verizon. Dont have any problems with at&t, but have had Verizon and Sprint and At&t,and they have all dropped about the same amount of calls. But i do love my Iphone!

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    +3

    CDMA SIM cards...

    "A CDMA device would not only need a different chipset but would eliminate the micro SIM card slot if it's not a dual-mode device."

    There's plenty of CDMA systems that use SIM cards - it just means the IMEI equivalent is carried on a SIM card, and not hard wired into that handset. CDMA devices in asia come with SIM cards.

    The lack of research from MacNN, of course, comes as no surprise.

    http://www.gearlog.com/2009/10/cdma_sim_cards_rise_again.php

    Of course, this doesn't mean that Sprint or Verizon want these, albeit I would think that Apple would make a CDMA/GSM version of any such iPhone model, to support future technologies (or, owners switching)

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000

    +4

    iPhones for everyone

    I hope that if Apple releases a CDMA iPhone, then they will also release unlocked GSM iPhones in the US that will work with T-Mobile's network as well as AT&T. That way customers can make more valid comparisons between the different cellular providers. The only problem is that people will still have to buy new iPhones when switching to a CDMA-based network from a GSM-based one and vice versa, but that will just mean more sales for Apple.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003

    0

    Switching...

    You wouldn't be able to bring your att iPhone with you with a cdma unit being produced.

    When sprint, vz, and tmob get the iPhone, apple will likely overtake the blackberry, and the small gain android has now would be erased and reversed many times over.

    - A

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