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Report: Apple redesigns antenna for VZW iPhone

Tue, 02/08/2011 - 7:00am
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

It appears that at least part of the Verizon iPhone's great reception is due to a fix by Apple this time around. IHS iSuppli has begun its teardown of the CDMA iPhone 4 and reports an entirely new antenna design.

The original UMTS/GSM version came under heavy criticism for signal integrity issues related to handheld use of the phone. IHS iSuppli reports that 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.

IHS iSuppli also found that Qualcomm scored a major design win in the new version of the iPhone 4. Apple used a Qualcomm 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 smartphone.

Additionally, the new iPhone 4 includes integrated GPS. IHS iSuppli postulates 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.

IHS iSuppli promises a full teardown analysis of the iPhone 4, including a complete bill of materials and hardware cost assessment, to follow later this week.

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