Tech Industry

iPhone 5 to come in multiple cellular versions

It looks like Apple will ship different versions of the phone to different countries, instead of one model that's compatible with all international standards. The device also gets a new memory chip.

Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

Apple will make the iPhone 5 available in several cellular versions, potentially making it a headache for users who want to switch between carriers.

The phone will come in three different models, featuring two different kinds of wireless-access technologies -- a CDMA version and two GSM versions, according to Apple's specs page. The specs also show that the device will have to use a different SIM card than in the past as predicted by rumors and leaks.

Having several cellular versions makes the new iPhone a less compatible phone. Some countries use CDMA for cellular service, while others use GSM. The two different bands of GSM may mean even more compatibility issues.

This is a change from the iPhone 4S, which had both technologies in one model, meaning the phone could be used in countries regardless of the technology.

The iPhone's new memory chip will be a nano-SIM card versus the previous device's micro-SIM card. The new phone won't be compatible with micro-SIM cards, according to the specs.

It's unclear why Apple chose these changes, but we have a message into the company and will update when we hear back.

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