(AAPL - Get Report)
will deliver the next version of the iPhone early next year,
A faster third-generation, or 3G, iPhone will be available sometime in the first quarter, say people familiar with the production plans. The new iPhone should help quiet critics who were unimpressed by the 2.5G EDGE technology the first version used.
Apple declined to comment.
Wireless industry observers say the two biggest complaints about the iPhone were the high prices and slow network connections. Earlier this month, Apple slashed the iPhone price by 33% -- a move that seems to have spurred some demand.
reported earlier Monday that the Cupertino, Calif., company was boosting
Holdouts waiting for the full-speed 3G iPhone may still be frustrated that the device won't be available this year. But a clearer timeline and the promise of new features could help soothe unhappy Apple fans.
The new 3G iPhone is expected to include features like global positioning for navigation services.
In fact, sources say Apple has tapped
Global Locate unit to supply chips for the phone. Broadcom acquired Global Locate in July. The tech shop makes so-called assisted GPS chips that use a combination of satellite and cellular antenna signals to pinpoint locations. This technology is designed to improve signal reception indoors or in cities where direct satellite views are unavailable.
Another chipmaker winning a place in the new iPhone is
, say people familiar with the plan. TriQuint will supply power amplifiers for the new iPhone, these sources say.