Inside the Verizon iPhone: New antenna, Qualcomm chip for global use

Investigations into the CDMA version of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) revealed the gadget has a new antenna design as well as a chip from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) designed for both CDMA and GSM networks.

Teardown firm iFixit posted a detailed look at the insides of the Verizon iPhone. Click here for more.A handful of companies including iFixit, UBM TechInsights and IHS iSuppli conducted teardowns of the Verizon iPhone, which officially goes on sale Thursday. Among the findings: The phone runs a baseband chip from Qualcomm, the MDM6600, that supports Verizon's CDMA and EV-DO networks as well as GSM and HSPA+ standards (up to 14.4 Mbps). It is the same chip that powers Motorola Mobility's (NYSE:MMI) Droid Pro global phone.

The implication is that the CDMA iPhone could be a world phone if it had support for a SIM card. Last year, GigaOM reported that Gemalto was designing an integrated SIM card for Apple, designed for European customers, which could allow subscribers to program their phone to work for different carriers. Speculation has now built up that the next generation of the iPhone will support both CDMA and GSM technologies.

Another insight revealed by the teardowns is that the CDMA iPhone has a new antenna design. The original iPhone 4, when it debuted on AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) last year, was plagued by reports that its antenna, which wraps around the phone in a steel band, had a flawed design. The controversy, which Apple addressed by providing free bumper cases to customers, did not materially affect Apple's sales.

"The original UMTS/GSM version came under heavy criticism for signal integrity issues related to handheld use of the phone," iSuppli said in its analysis. "While Apple kept the fundamental integrated antenna and enclosure design, provisions were made to improve reception quality. The new CDMA version employs a dual-antenna design that takes advantage of antenna diversity to improve reception."

Verizon started taking iPhone pre-orders at 3 a.m. EST Feb. 3 for existing customers. According to the carrier, within the first two hours Verizon sold more phones than any first day launch in its history. Verizon said online pre-orders will begin again Feb. 9 at 3:01 a.m. EST, and that its stores will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10 for the official launch. Phil Cusick, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, wrote in a research note that he estimates Verizon sold half a million iPhones on it first day of pre-orders.

For more:
- see this iFixit post
- see this iSuppli release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Engadget post
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this GigaOM post
- see this San Jose Business Journal article

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