IPhone 5 Goes Global

IPhone 5 Goes Global

The iPhone 5 will be a “global” version, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo accidentally announced, meaning Apple will sell just one universally-compatible model around the world.

The new iPhone 5 will be able to roam on the “GSM” wireless networks that are common in other countries, putting Verizon on “equal footing” with AT&T, Shammo implied. That also means the phone would be compatible not just with Verizon’s CDMA network, but also global GSM technology, which AT&T uses.

There would be no practical benefits for Verizon customers while in the U.S., but it would mean they could use their phones abroad in many GSM-only countries — including most of Europe — though doing so might require buying a SIM card.

For Apple, it would mean economies of scale that will keep production costs down because the company would be making one phone model rather than two.

Also, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is reportedly also in talks with South Korean and Saudi Arabian CDMA carriers to introduce the iPhone 5 in those markets. A globally compatible phone could help Apple sell even more iPhones.

According to earlier reports, the new iPhone will feature a Qualcomm processor chip with NFC, or near-field communication, technology, allowing users to pay for goods and services by tapping their phone on a payment terminal. In addition, it will also be roughly the same size and shape as the iPhone 4, but have a slightly larger touch screen display and be housed in a metal outer frame. The camera and buttons are unmoved.

Sony indicated last month that it would be making an 8-megapixel camera for the iPhone 5 — if it can overcome production delays caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But consumers may have to wait until the fall.

Earlier today, Apple nearly doubled profits after shipping over 18 million iPhones last quarter.

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