For a while now many have been speculating that Apple would be moving away from CDMA and HPSA specific chipsets in the iPad and iPhone, but the transition hasn’t fully happened as of yet. While the Verizon based iPhone 4 and iPad 2 carry a Qualcomm MDM6600, which is capable of serving HSPA+, and CDMA2000, Apple’s decided to use the Intel X-Gold 618 baseband in the AT&T version of the iPad 2. Simply put, Apple’s using two chips where they could theoretically use one.
We don’t know why Apple’s opted for two separate chipsets when one would have sufficed, but we don’t get paid to make those decisions either. However, it’s starting to sound like Apple might be jumping to a Qualcomm dual baseband chipset for the entire iPhone 5 lineup. This would eliminate the need for a separate Verizon iPhone and AT&T iPhone entirely. Instead there would be one iPhone 5.
After having a conversation with Enrico Salvatori, Qualcomm’s VP, the folks at ITProPortal are convinced that we’ll be seeing the chipset rolled into the iPhone 5.
If Qualcomm doesn’t launch a brand new chipset equipped with near field communication technology for the iPhone 5, the other candidate would be the MDM9625 which supports HSPA+ Release 9, EV-DO Revision B, EV-DO Advanced and, most importantly, TD-SCDMA which is widely used in China.
Desire Athow also points out that Apple could save a cool $80 million by adopting a dual-baseband chipset, should Apple meet analysts’ sales expectations of 40 million units sold in 2011.
While a majority of iPhone users probably don’t leave their home networks very often, having a dual-baseband capable device would certainly be a benefit for people who travel frequently to countries where one technology dominates over the other. It’s also important for those of us who are currently unhappy with our carriers. Being able to take your phone from one carrier to another, despite baseband, is something that most of us could get behind.
The sooner the iPhone and iPad are multi-network the better.