iPad 2 Rumored to Gain Dual GSM-CDMA Radio

iPad screenWith Verizon Wireless offering the iPad coupled with their CDMA-flavored MiFi 2200, it’s not a surprise to hear rumors that the next generation of Apple’s tablet may come with a CDMA-compatible radio baked right in alongside GSM so 3G can be used anywhere in the world.

AppleInsider is reporting that the 3G model of Apple’s next iPad will up the ante by including both GSM as well as CDMA radios, making it a “world mode” device usable anywhere in the world. GSM is the standard used in the U.S. by AT&T and T-Mobile and most everywhere in the world (particularly throughout Europe), while the older CDMA is primarily in this country, used by Verizon and Sprint.

A “world mode” iPad would allow a Verizon or Sprint customer to use those companies’ CDMA network here in the U.S., but allow them to pop in a local SIM card for use on any GSM network while traveling overseas, or potentially even here in the U.S. in areas where AT&T has broader coverage.

The new rumor comes from Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, who released a note to investors claiming “Apple is developing a new iPad with a Qualcomm multimode CDMA-GSM chip built in.” Such a move would negate the need for carriers such as Verizon to bundle a wireless hotspot device with the iPad.

Blair’s other prognostications reveal that the next iPad “will be thinner and will have a forward-facing camera,” both of which are widely expected, particularly with Apple’s current push to get FaceTime on additional devices. After debuting on the iPhone 4 in June, the video chat technology moved to the fourth-generation iPod touch in September and was recently released as beta software for the Mac as well.

“The new iPad is thinner than the existing model and is essentially made from one piece of metal with no pins needed,” Blair wrote. “We understand it requires a new type of manufacturing process as a result, similar to the company’s unibody approach seen in MacBooks.”

The analyst stopped short of predicting when we might see an updated model, although it’s widely expected in the spring, perhaps on the first anniversary of the original model.

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