In classic style, iFixit took apart a Verizon iPhone and studied what makes it tick. While most of the report was standard fare, the teardown analysis does reveal a few surprises, including the presence of a Qualcomm MDM6600 baseband chip. It is a Verizon smartphone and a Qualcomm CDMA chip was expected, but the presence of the MDM6600 is somewhat surprising as it includes both GSM and CDMA capabilities.
This particular chip is present in the world-enabled DROID Pro and is capable of HSPA+ connectivity with data rates up to 14.4 Mbps as well as EV-DO. While the baseband chip is capable of running on a GSM network, there is no SIM slot to enable this functionality. Many reports question why Apple and Verizon chose to release this handset with only CDMA connectivity. The prevailing thought suggests Verizon and Apple focused on CDMA connectivity in this release and will enable world support in a future version of the handset, aka iPhone 5.
Other goodies spotted in the Verizon version of the Apple handset include the following:
- the presence of a new linear oscillating vibrator for call/message alerts
- a notch on the right side of the case suggests a new antenna design was developed to accommodate the CDMA hardware. The susceptibility of the handset to the death grip is not yet known
- the display mounting tabs on the Verizon iPhone are different from the AT&T version which makes it impossible to switch out the two parts
- the battery in the Verizon iPhone has the same 5.25 watt-hour capacity as the GSM version but it has new model number and weighs less
- the Verizon iPhone officially has no user serviceable parts, unlike the GSM model which has a user serviceable SIM card and SIM tray
Overall, there are only a few minor differences between the CDMA iPhone and its GSM counterpart. The big differences are not found in the hardware, but the different carrier’s network coverage, customer service, and available calling and data plans.