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Teardown Analysis Team Commences Dissection of CDMA iPhone 4 - IHS iSuppli News Flash


The IHS iSuppli team of teardown experts has obtained and opened up a new CDMA version of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 designed to work on Verizon Wireless’ network. This new CDMA iteration of the iPhone 4 naturally borrows heavily from the UMTS/GSM version introduced last June. However, early results of the teardown analysis reveal several key changes to the smart phone’s design. These changes likely foretell of future updates coming in the next major model release of the Apple iPhone later this year.

CDMA technology leader Qualcomm has scored a major design win in the new version of the iPhone 4, with the use of its baseband processor chip displacing the incumbent supplier of the last four years. The iPhone includes the Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband processor, replacing the Infineon PMB9801 baseband used in the UMTS/GSM version of the smart phone.

The CDMA iPhone 4 features an updated antenna design. The original UMTS/GSM version came under heavy criticism for signal integrity issues related to handheld use of the phone. While Apple kept the fundamental integrated antenna and enclosure design, provisions were made to improve reception quality. The new CDMA version employs a dual-antenna design that takes advantage of antenna diversity to improve reception. 

The new iPhone 4 includes integrated GPS. Early analysis leads us to believe that Apple has eliminated the discrete GPS chip—previously supplied by Broadcom—and, instead, relies on the integrated GPS functionality of the Qualcomm MDM6600. The significance of the MDM chipset is that Apple has again, chosen a ‘slim modem’ platform, just as in the UMTS/GSM (AT&T) version of the iPhone 4. MDM chipsets are typically sold to manufacturers of embedded wireless modules or dongles. The MDM chipset from Qualcomm is essentially an entry-level chip and provides savings for Apple both in terms of device complexity and in the cost of manufacturing.  

A full teardown analysis of this device, including a complete bill of materials and hardware cost assessment, will follow this week.

Find Out More > An Early Look Inside Apple's First CDMA iPhone