Apple is slated to release the iPhone 5 this summer with a couple of surprising changes both inside and outside.
Engadget reports that the "completely redesigned" phone will use new chipsets from Qualcomm to support both the GSM data networks used for wireless providers AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Qualcomm's chipset saves Apple from having to make two different versions of the iPhone to support both wireless networks.
Also, the iPhone5 is said to be a total shift in design, moving away from the glass backing and the exterior antenna in favor of an aluminum backing, according to a report from Economic Daily News.
Losing Apple is a huge blow to Intel, which last fall acquired the wireless business Infineon Technologies, a supplier of chipsets to the first iPad and the iPhone 4. Apple has been Infineon’s largest customer. IPhone 4 and the iPad made more than $15 billion last quarter for Apple and are expected to surpass Mac as the second-most-important revenue generators for the company in the next quarter. The iPad 2, released this month, also uses chips from Qualcomm.
Meanwhile, AT&T is expected to lose even more customers now that the iPhone will be readily accessible to those who prefer Verizon as a wireless carrier. After AT&T lost its iPhone exclusivity deal in February, Wells Fargo predicted that 150,000 subscribers would jump ship in the first quarter. Verizon sales figures won’t be released until April.
Reports suggesting that iPhone sales at Verizon Wireless were falling short of expectations were refuted by CEO Daniel S. Mead. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mead said the iPhone is selling better than any previous launch with the company.
The iPhone is most successful product, accounting for over 16 million purchases in the fourth quarter of 2010, followed by 7.3 million iPad sales, and 2.9 million Mac-branded notebooks,. Apple is also the most valuable technology company in the world, wresting that crown from Microsoft last year largely because of its handheld devices and music sales, which earned twice as much revenue as its computers.