Verizon iPhone packs 'world mode' chip, revamped antenna

An iFixit teardown of Apple's Verizon iPhone 4 exposes a new Qualcomm chip and a redesigned antenna, among other changes to the erstwhile AT&T-only phone.

Teardowns of Apple's Verizon iPhone 4 reveal a Qualcomm "world mode" chip and redesigned antenna, among other modifications to the heretofore AT&T-only phone.

Both iFixit and UBM TechInsights have taken apart the phone exposing more than a few non-trivial changes.

Foremost of these changes is the Qualcomm MDM6600 chip--a first for an Apple phone. That is the same chip that's being used in the Droid Pro world phone, which enables the Droid to support both CDMA and GSM. But, for now, that capability in the iPhone remains a latent, untapped potential.

Other Verizon iPhone 4 iFixit teardown highlights:

  • Battery: the battery can be removed "fairly easily once you circumvent Apple's pesky Pentalobe screws," iFixit said.
  • Antenna: an additional notch in the antenna enclosure on the right side of the phone is a result of the switch from GSM to CDMA. "Only time will tell if this new antenna design helps combat the reception problems plaguing the GSM iPhone 4," iFixit said.
  • Display: the display assembly is different from the GSM iPhone 4. The mounting tabs are in different locations for the two display assemblies. Upshot: the two assemblies are not interchangeable.
  • Rubber pads: Apple used custom-molded rubber pads between the chips and the EMI shields. "Presumably to conduct heat and quell any interference between analog and digital circuitry."
  • Chips: Other high-profile silicon, in addition to the Qualcomm MDM6600, include Apple's A4 chip (of course) and Texas Instruments touchscreen controller (343S0499).
Verizon iPhone 4: in the upper circuit board, the chip with the red outline is the Qualcomm MDM6600, the orange outlined chip is the Toshiba 16GB NAND Flash.
Verizon iPhone 4: in the upper circuit board, the chip with the red outline is the Qualcomm MDM6600, the orange outlined chip is the Toshiba 16GB NAND Flash. iFixit

The Verizon iPhone 4 earned a Repairability Score of 6 out of 10, iFixit said. Aside from the battery's annoying Pentalobe screws, "other components are connected mostly with regular screws, with limited use of tabs and adhesives."

iFixit also notes that the SIM card and SIM tray were the only user-serviceable parts in the AT&T iPhone 4. "Sadly, now the Verizon iPhone does not contain any user-serviceable parts."

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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