The Verizon iPhone: It's a Verizon iPhone!

By  |  Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

In the end, today’s Verizon “Latest News” event was pretty much what just about everybody expected it would be: the launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless’s CDMA network. (My best guesses about the event were mostly accurate, although I said I thought Steve Jobs would be here–Apple COO Tim Cook was instead–and Verizon hasn’t announced anything at all about data plan pricing, let alone whether unlimited data will be available. And the predictions of late-January availability were a tad off: Current Verizon customers will be able to pre-order on February 3rd, and everyone else will need to wait until the phone goes on sale on February 10th.)

I predicted that there wouldn’t be any earthshaking news, but there would be at least one mildly newsworthy surprise. There was: The Verizon iPhone will have a mobile hotspot feature that lets up to five devices tether to the iPhone’s Internet connection via Wi-Fi. (The AT&T model offers only USB tethering.)

The hotspot, incidentally, isn’t an app, but just some new items in the iPhone 4 settings:

How similar is the Verizon iPhone to its AT&T cousin? Judging from the phones Verizon had here for hands-on demos, they’re nearly identical except for the Verizon model’s CDMA radio. There’s no Verizon logo on the phone. There are no Verizon apps preloaded on the phone. The only physical difference I spotted was that the antenna seam on the top of the AT&T model has been moved onto the left side of the phone, where it’s above the mute switch (which seems to have been moved slightly down the phone–I’m not sure what this means for case compatibility).

So now that nobody will ever again ask if the iPhone is coming to Verizon, are there any Verizon iPhone questions left to ask? Sure, plenty of them:

  • How good will the experience be? (Even before the Verizon iPhone became official, AT&T was already saying that its iPhone has a faster data connection than a Verizon one would…which it does, as long as you’re in an area of strong AT&T 3G coverage.)
  • How much of a hassle is it that the Verizon iPhone can’t do data and voice at the same time? (Answer: presumably as much of a hassle as it is with Verizon’s Android phones–a non-issue for some folks, and a big irritant for others, depending on how you use your phone.)
  • Will Verizon get a new iPhone when AT&T does, probably in June or July? (I’d assume so.)
  • Will either company get an LTE phone this year? (I’d be very surprised–Tim Cook said that this first Verizon iPhone is CDMA ¬†because first-generation LTE chipsets aren’t robust enough for Apple’s standards. I don’t think that will change in time for a summer iPhone; my guess is that the first LTE iPhone will appear in mid-2012.)
  • Are those rumors about unlimited data plans true? (Guess we’ll know by February 3rd at the latest.)

You have any other questions at the moment? Verizon fans, are you excited by the news, or disappointed that there were no stunners–or maybe a little bit of both? AT&T customers, are you contemplating jumping ship?


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. johnwbaxter Says:

    On the other hand, LTE could cause the next big tech news/blog iphone dogpile. Suppose LTE isn't ready for a June iPhone but appears it would be for say October. Would Apple break long-standing (oops 3 year) tradition and announce the new phone to match? Probably.

  2. @heulenwolf Says:

    I hate to sound jaded but, as a long time VZW customer, I think this is too little too late for me, personally. I've already bought in to the Droid platform and gotten sick of waiting for my iPod Touch to sync to iTunes on my PC. I don't want to go back. What I hope this move does is raise the bar for smartphones on VZW. Companies like RIM could hide there with wimpy or feature-disabled phones, secure that VZW's coverage would keep businesses locked in to them. I'm also curious to see what we learn about the various iPhone 4 issues ("antennagate," reports of higher dropped call rates than other AT&T phones, reports of poor voice quality) as a result of basically the same hardware running on another network.

  3. Bill Snyder Says:

    Don't switch to the Veriizon iPhone — just yet. Four questions to answers before you take the plunge

  4. leohusy Says:

    Will either company get an LTE phone this year? (I’d be very surprised.
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