The upcoming iPhone 5 will almost certainly be a single phone that supports multiple networks, namely CDMA (such as the one used by Verizon or Sprint in the United States) as well as GSM (which is used by AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.).
I was recently approached by a developer of some of the most popular apps on the iOS platform today, who asked not to be named and offered solid proof that supports the above claim.
According to this person, and app usage logs I was sent, a tiny number of people have recently registered for one of their applications from a single, brand new Apple device that is decidedly dual-mode – meaning it supports both CDMA and GSM.
The logs show that the app has been briefly tested by a handful of people using what is almost certainly an iPhone 5, evidently running iOS 5, sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). Those codes can be used to uniquely identify mobile carriers.
Sure enough, some registrations for the app – which the developer also asked not to be named – were logged from a new Apple device, using the MNC/MCC codes from both Verizon and AT&T.
The first iPhone was a GSM phone released on June 29, 2007 exclusively on the AT&T network in the United States. On February 10, 2011, a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 for Verizon made its debut.
Now that Apple is catering to both carriers (and their respective networks), it makes all the sense in the world for the company to combine support for both CDMA and GSM in a single device, turning it into a ‘world phone’ or a ‘global phone’ as the cool kids would say.
In addition, rumors have been circulating since last year that Qualcomm would replace Intel as the baseband supplier to the iPhone 5 smartphone. Notably, Qualcomm already supplies the baseband to the CDMA version of the iPhone 4, but not the original GSM version of the device.
An Apple-made ‘world phone’ would be great news for consumers, especially those in countries where certain carriers use CDMA (the U.S., India, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and more). Travelling abroad with a phone that only supports CDMA, in particular, is a major pain in the ass.
With a dual-mode iPhone 5, users will be able to roam between both networks effortlessly.
If all of the above checks out – and all signs point to yes, overwhelmingly so – that would mean the soon-to-be-unveiled iPhone 5 probably won’t be an LTE device, perhaps disappointingly so for some who still hadn’t ruled out the possibility of a 4G iPhone in spite of mounting evidence that such a handset wouldn’t be coming out this year.