Report: Apple readies smaller iPhone on Verizon

Would have smaller screen; hybrid chip would resolve network compatibility issues

Apple will launch a smaller "world mode" iPhone next year that will be ready for Verizon Wireless to sell in the third quarter of 2010, according to an analyst report citing unnamed handset maker sources in Taiwan.

The new iPhone will use a hybrid chip from Qualcomm, making it compatible with GSM/UMTS 3G networks (including that of AT&T, the exclusive iPhone carrier in the U.S.), as well as CDMA2000 networks, such as Verizon's in the U.S., according to a report from OTR Global, which was quoted by AppleInsider.

OTR's unnamed sources said that Asustek subsidiary Pegatron will build the devices for Apple, rather than Hon Hai, the current iPhone device maker.

An official at OTR reached today said he could not comment on the report, saying it was "proprietary for clients." Apple could not be reached immediately for comment, and a Verizon spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumor or speculation.

The global iPhone would also have a 2.8-in. diagonal screen, smaller than the current iPhone's 3.5-in. display, according to the report.

While many iPhone users have expressed interest in moving to Verizon's network to avoid network problems with AT&T, the technology has so far not enabled it.

Verizon on Friday released its Droid smartphone by Motorola Inc. as one of its premiere smartphones going forward. It also released the BlackBerry Storm 2 last month.

The OTR report says that Verizon and Apple have hammered out an agreement to sell the new iPhone model next year, according to AppleInsider.

Some analysts had said that Verizon would not offer an iPhone until another, faster network technology, LTE, was firmly established. LTE rollouts will begin next year on Verizon but will not be fully in place until 2012.

An analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, among others, recently said Apple will probably drop its AT&T exclusivity deal next year.

The world-mode hybrid, using Qualcomm technology, will allow Apple to sell iPhones to AT&T and Verizon in the U.S., as well as to other carriers globally, according to the AppleInsider report.

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said that if the report about a world-mode iPhone turns out to be true, "then it's a smart move for both Verizon and Apple." Gartner has commented previously that "there is no better way for Apple to make a lot of money in a short of time than to sell an iPhone at Verizon."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon