Recent reports coming out of China that Intel might not have much more time as the exclusive supplier of 3G chipsets for the iPhone and iPad wouldn’t be reason to start expecting a new iPhone coming to a Verizon outlet near you by themselves, but when those reports also peg Qualcomm as Intel’s baseband successor and the possibility of a CDMA iPhone (and iPad!) starts looking a lot more plausible.
Currently, Qualcomm is the only game in town when it comes to dual-mode wireless chips capable of handling both UMTS/HSPA and CDMA/EVDO networks. Infineon doesn’t have anything like Qualcomm’s baseband chips currently in production, which means that if Apple wants to open up the iPhone and iPad to Verizon, they either need to build a whole new phone just for Verizon or switch to a chip that will support all networks.
Last time we heard about Qualcomm’s dual-mode baseband chips, rumor had it that they were actually too big to fit in the current-gen iPhone, but if the footprint has shrunk over time, this is an ideal path for Apple to take.
Additionally, the report (which originated with the Chinese Economic Daily News) claims to have identified Apple’s other suppliers for the next-generation iPhone and iPad. The suppliers save Qualcomm are largely unchanged from those who help make the current models, with a Samsung processor, Broadcom touchscreen controller, Infineon video, CSR Bluetooth and Marvell WiFi all being suggested.