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Monday, October 18, 2010, 08:10 pm PT (11:10 pm ET)

Apple field testing iPhone 4 revision, may add CDMA - rumor

Apple has begun field testing a new version of the iPhone, prompting continued speculation of an early 2011 launch of a CDMA-compatible iPhone, according to an unconfirmed report.

Citing a "solid Apple source," Boy Genius Report claimed Monday that iPhone model 3,2 has reached the field test phase, while the next-generation "iPhone 5" has advanced to the Engineering Verification Test stage of the development cycle.

"We have been told that iPhone model 3,2 — what everyone is assuming to be the Verizon (or at least CDMA-compatible) phone — just hit the “AP” testing stage. This is the very last stage before retail release; final hardware, almost final software," the report noted.

Since Apple uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions and the second number to refer to minor revisions, iPhone model 3,2 should be an updated iPhone 4 rather than a next-generation model. The report speculates that the 3,2 revision could also include a fix for the widely publicized iPhone 4 antenna issue.

BGR's source asserts that iPhone version 3,2 will contain a SIM card slot, which is generally used only by GSM devices. However, earlier this month, rumors surrounding a Verizon CDMA iPhone implied that Qualcomm could provide Apple with a dual-mode baseband chip that would support both GSM and CDMA networks. In the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile run GSM networks, while Verizon and Sprint use the CDMA standard. China Telecom is also reportedly in talks with Apple over a CDMA iPhone.

With the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times both reporting in early October that a Verizon iPhone is in the works for next year, the much-talked-about rumors of Apple going multi-carrier in the U.S. have gained momentum.

Although Boy Genius Report has a respectable track record with regard to Apple and AT&T announcements, it has missed the mark on several other Apple predictions from "reliable sources." Last year, the website reported that Blu-ray support was coming to iTunes 9.

In early July, BGR published a series of emails allegedly written between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and a disgruntled customer. The report was picked up by several blogs, before an Apple spokesperson "emphatically denied" that Jobs was the author of any of the statements.