Speculated CDMA-GSM World iPad to Bring Apple Closer to Verizon

Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair is speculating that Apple’s next-gneration iPad could forego a GSM-only 3G radio for “world phone” multimode CDMA-GSM chip made by Qualcomm. Versions of the chipsets have been found on a few devices by U.S. CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless, such as the Droid 2 Global and Droid Pro by Motorola, which allows the carrier to offer its customers the ability to use its CDMA/EV-DO network in the U.S. while being able to roam on GSM/HSPA networks overseas. According to Blair, who predicts that Apple will be building 48 million of these units in 2011, “Recent checks…suggest Apple is going to be ratcheting down production of the existing 3G iPad over the next two months in anticipation of ramping up a new World iPad that is powered by Qualcomm and will run on both GSM and CDMA based networks around the world.” He notes that a thinner design with a front-facing design will also be part of the refresh. If true, a CDMA-GSM iPad hybrid would eliminate the need for Verizon Wireless to sell a WiFi-only iPad and bundle it with the company’s MiFi portable hotspot router for mobile broadband access. Additionally, the addition of 3G support will also bring GPS support to the tablet, giving users on Verizon Wireless the option to use the tablet as a navigation device or better integrate the tablet with location-based services and apps with an internal GPS module that’s built onto the multi-mode chipset.

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