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Breaking news out of Taiwan: According to Taiwanese business rag Economic Daily News, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) is planning to make some radical changes to next year's iterations of the iPhone and iPad.
Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) is expected to provide baseband radio chips this time, pushing out incumbent Infineon Technologies and thus replacing an HSPA expert with the inventor of the CDMA standard. If that was gobbledygook, you should know that HSPA is the 3G network standard in use at AT&T while CDMA is what they use to run Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) . If true, this could be the first real sign of a Verizon or Sprint iPhone, though you'd probably have to wait until next summer when Steve Jobs traditionally dons his black turtleneck to unveil what's new in iPhones.
Among other notable changes, Marvell Technology (Nasdaq: MRVL ) is said to have replaced Broadcom as the Wi-Fi chip supplier, but Broadcom makes a comeback by stealing the touchscreen controller slot. Wolfson Microelectronics may have retaken the audio chip throne that Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS ) stole two years ago, and the market is taking this rumor very seriously: Cirrus is down 4% today while Wolfson trades sharply higher on the London exchange.
Last but not least, a separate rumor says that Samsung is moving its Galaxy S smartphones to standard LCD screens soon or maybe putting the entire product line on hold. Why? Because Apple allegedly wants all the OLED capacity Samsung can muster for the iPhone. I had expected a move like that around next summer, because that's when Samsung increases its OLED manufacturing capacity tenfold by opening a massive new factory. But it does make sense for Apple to secure a screen supply well in advance of actually shipping product. Apple seems to have skipped that step with some parts for the white iPhone this year, and you still can't get your hands on that model.
Altogether, this is potentially bad news for Cirrus and AT&T; great tidings for Wolfson and Marvell; good but not terrific for Qualcomm; and the next iPhone is shaping up to be the most impressive package yet. The obvious demand for OLED screens is also a catalyst of epic proportions for OLED technologist Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL ) .
Buy on the rumor, sell on the news -- or do you have a different strategy in mind to play these juicy tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.