The latest iPhone 5 rumors say the next iteration of Apple's smartphone will almost certainly be a CDMA/GSM dual-mode “world phone.” An unidentified iOS device has popped up in the usage logs for at least one popular iOS app sporting identifiers that suggest the device can run on CDMA and GSM networks. The unknown device is running iOS 5 and is believed to be the iPhone 5, according to TechCrunch.
Phones capable of running on both CDMA networks, such as Verizon and Sprint, and GSM, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, are referred to as “world phones” since they can be used in virtually any country on the planet.
TechCrunch's unnamed developer was tipped off by the unknown device's mobile network codes (MNC) and mobile country codes (MCC). These two codes are used to identify a phone by its carrier. The phone found in the developer's logs had MNC/MCC numbers for both AT&T and Verizon, TechCrunch says.
Test iPhone or the real thing?
While TechCrunch's report is interesting, it is possible the unknown device running iOS 5 is simply a test unit Apple's engineers use to try out the two cellular networks in the wild.
But this is not the first time we've seen hints suggesting the next iPhone would be a world phone. Rumors that the iPhone 5 might be a dual-mode phone picked up steam in February after teardowns of the Verizon iPhone discovered the device had a dual-mode GSM/CDMA chip.
So Apple could have supported GSM with the device, but the Verizon iPhone lacked an antenna compatible with GSM networks. In April, some vague statements from Verizon executive Fran Shammo that the next iPhone would be a "global device" added to the dual-mode rumors. Verizon sells a number of devices such as the BlackBerry Storm 2 and the Droid Pro that it calls “global phones” because the devices include CDMA and GSM capabilities.
The next iPhone
Current rumors claim the next iPhone will launch in October alongside iOS 5. The device is rumored to have an A5 dual-core processor, the same chip found in the iPad 2, and an 8 megapixel camera. The new iPhone may also have an edge-to-edge screen expanding the display real estate by a few inches.
Apple recently released the sixth beta version of iOS 5,but it's not clear how many beta iterations the mobile OS will go through before its public release. Apple's iOS 4 had four betas before Apple released the gold master version in June 2010.