While the Verizon iPhone has given has given more users than ever the chance to try the Apple smartphone, the carrier’s CDMA network has forced Apple to maintain two separate iPhone 4 models. There’s been plenty of speculation over what kind of hardware changes are in store for the iPhone 5, including an upgraded processor and larger display, but what about a change to the phone’s radio? Comments made by Verizon CFO Fran Shammo suggest that the next iPhone may very well be a world phone, compatible on both CDMA and GSM networks.
Shammo responded to a question about revenue growth, specifically when the company expected it to start improving at a faster rate, saying, “the fluctuation, I believe, will come when a new device from Apple is launched, whenever that may be, and that we will be, on the first time, on equal footing with our competitors on a new phone hitting the market, which will also be a global device.”
The idea of a dual-mode CDMA/GSM iPhone isn’t so far-fetched, as the Verizon iPhone 4 already employs some components technically capable of such a feat, should the proper software be developed. One concern that may arise when implementing such technology would be designing the smartphone’s antenna for strong performance on any of the possible frequencies the phone would need to use. Considering the PR mess that’s been the iPhone 4’s antenna, this is one component Apple really needs to get right next time.
While a global iPhone would be ideal for travelers, it would also likely draw much more interest in carrier-unlocking the smartphone, which neither Apple nor the networks would be too keen on. For smartphone users, though, it’s a big win; all we’d need then is an iPhone with the 1700MHz band for T-Mobile. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see what Apple’s plans actually are.