Money shot: VeriPhone's new dual-mode CDMA/GSM chip

Summary:I was expecting the Verizon iPhone teardown to reveal nothing except a CDMA chip, some ASICs, a little antenna re-jiggering and that's it. Boy, was I wrong.

Wow. This caught me completely off guard.

I was expecting the Verizon iPhone teardown to reveal nothing. Literally a different chip for CDMA, some ASICs, a little antenna re-jiggering and that's it. Boy, was I wrong.

Clearly visible in Step 15 of the iFixIt teardown of the Verizon iPhone is the Qualcomm MDM6600 (a.k.a. "Gobi") chip. Here's the skinny, directly from Qualcomm:

The latest modem chipsets that have been added to the Gobi product family deliver support for CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B, HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+ and LTE with integrated backwards compatibility to HSPA and EV-DO.

This opens up an incredible amount of possibilities -- but let's not jump to conclusions. The Verizon iPhone 4 doesn't have a SIM slot so you can't activate it on a GSM carrier (like AT&T or T-Mobile) without some serious hacking.

Update: iFixIt hypothesizes that Apple didn't release the VeriPhone as a multi-band "world phone" because a CDMA-only phone supports two cellular frequency bands, while Apple supports five bands in the GSM version.

Apple hates multiple SKUs -- except when selling high-cap iOS devices -- and the MDM6600 is evidence of that. The inclusion of the Qualcomm chip is simply a preview of what's to come in the single-SKU iPhone 5 that we'll see this summer or fall.

Below is a full-size shot of the Verizon iPhone 4 main board, dozens more can be found at iFixit.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Mobility, Networking


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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