Apple will release a new "worldmode" iPhone next year with a significantly smaller form factor, according to a report revealed by AppleInsider
. The phone will have a hybrid UMTS/CDMA chip manufactured by Qualcomm that will enable it to use Verizon Wireless's network in the United States.
The report was produced by OTR Global, an independent Wall Street research firm, and relies on sources within the Taiwan handset manufacturing industry. Their research indicated that Asustek subsidiary Taiwan's Pegatron, a subsidiary of Asustek will bur tapped to manufacture the phone. Apple is said to have chosen that company rather than Hon Hai, their current manufacturer, because of concerns that they would be "constrained by a single-source assembler."
The purported new phone would have a 2.8" screen, as compared to the 3.5" screen on current iPhones. This is consistent with pictures leaked on the web over the summer
supposedly showing components of a smaller iPhone.
The possibility of a hybrid chip running both Verizon-compatible CDMA and AT&T-compatible UMTS would eliminate a major stumbling block to a potential Verizon iPhone. Verizon Wireless has stated that its plan is to upgrade its entire network to LTE - a major undertaking that won't be complete until the middle of the next decade - rather than adding UMTS 3G service to its current network, as other CDMA carriers have done. The dual chip allows Apple to sell one phone globally that can run on all major telecom providers.
Verizon has done much recently to pour cold water on rumors that they would be releasing their own iPhone, in particular the recent attack ads making fun of Apple and AT&T. The carrier also has the Blackberry Storm 2, the Palm Pre, and Motorola Droid in its stable as direct competitors to the iPhone. The report, however, indicates that the companies have been in talks all along.
Recently, Verizon Wireless announced a policy that would levy a $350 fine on customers who cancel contracts on "advanced devices," which leads some observers to wonder if the report of a future Verizon iPhone will put a drag on Droid, Storm, and Pre sales over the holidays.
The report claims the new phone will be released in the third quarter of 2010.