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Breakdown of Verizon’s iPhone 4 Announcement

Lots to take in with Tuesdays announcement of the iPhone 4 becoming available on Verizon’s network. A lot of people will have questions, so hopefully we can clear up quite a few of the nuts and bolts of what the announcement means.

iPhone on Verizon

Key Points About iPhone 4 on Verizon

  1. The iPhone 4 will be available on Verizon for pre-order to existing customers beginning on February 3rd and to new customers on February 10th. Verizon has been working with Apple since 2008 to make this a reality, so I am confident that they will be quite accommodating in getting existing customers to spring for an iPhone.
  2. The iPhone 4 will run on Verizon’s CDMA 3G network and not on Verizon’s LTE network. This is due to the fact as Tim Cook stated, “the first gen LTW chipsets force design changes we wouldn’t make. And Verizon customers told us they want the iPhone now.”
  3. The iPhone 4 will be on Verizon’s 3G network, which is reputed to be the “most reliable” in the US, which will be a major selling point for current AT&T customers that have been extremely dissatisfied with AT&Ts reliability. I believe iPhone loyalty has helped retain quite a few customers for AT&T, but dependability is high on the list for many.
  4. Verizon’s iPhone 4 allows you to use the smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot for up to 5 devices, which is a huge advantage over AT&Ts lack of flexibility in this specific area. Not only is it a mobile hotspot via WiFi, but has added hotspot connectivity via Bluetooth and USB. Turning your iPhone into a mobile hotspot has been available for jailbroken iPhones through apps such as MiWi and iPhoneModem (available through Cydia), but that required users to jailbreak their phone, which voided the warranty through Apple. Having this feature for users right out of the box will be a big selling point, especially for those individuals who need wireless connectivity for a WiFi iPad or laptop on the go.
  5. Being that the iPhone 4 will be on a CDMA network, users will unfortunately not be able to use voice and data at the same time, so there is a bit of a digression in that regard. This was a major point of contention when users on AT&Ts network were bound by the same limitation. Which ultimately means it could be a bold bullet point in the “cons” category for many people on the fence.
  6. Update to the antenna to work on CDMA network was also a prime opportunity to correct the “antennagate death grip” problem from the original iPhone 4.
  7. Due to antenna rework of Verizon iPhone 4, the silent/mute switch has been moved slightly down, which will directly affect cases being universal. Many of the case manufacturers are aware of this problem and are actively making alternate cases for the Verizon iPhone 4.

Worth Noting:

Verizon stressed the fact that they are ready for the launch having tested 1000 iPhones on the Verizon 3G network over the past year. No doubt, a little dig at AT&T for their past problems with accommodating such high data demand from their customers.

AT&T has a lot of customers currently under contract from the iPhone 4 launch in the summer of 2010. In order for customers to switch carriers, they would first need to opt out of their AT&T contract, which could be to the tune of several hundred dollars.

The iPhone 4 running on AT&Ts network has had quite a few years to incorporate features and options that have brought it to it’s current state. Outside of the reliability of AT&Ts network, AT&T and Apple have upped the ante over the years to make the iPhone almost irresistible despite being on AT&Ts network. That being said, Verizon’s announcement and subsequent launch is quite impressive. Retaining the current features (with the exception of voice and data) and adding the Mobile Hotspot are sure to make some salivate at the thought of switching.

Going forward, now that the initial announcement and having a launch date is out of the way, it’s the future that houses the real potential of this venture between Verizon and Apple. No doubt that as the LTE network continues to grow, the yearly update cycle of Apple products will eventually incorporate the LTE service onto the iPhone 4.

Closing Thoughs

Is it worth the switch? I hate to sound cliché, but it depends. It depends on many factors which only each individual user can determine whether or not the switch is worth their while. There are many AT&T iPhone 4 customers that are more than happy with their service and don’t plan on making the switch. There are others who feel as if AT&T is the bane of their very existence and would switch in a heartbeat regardless of cost. I would imagine the biggest impact of the Verizon / Apple venture, will come from existing Verizon customers getting on the iPhone bandwagon. However, that does not take away from the effect it will have on AT&T. I am one who feels that a significant number of AT&T users will jump ship and make the change. The repercussions of this will be large enough to warrant concern over at AT&T.

This battle will go back and forth as the pros and cons are stacked on both sides. The iPhone 4 that launched this past June for AT&T will be up for its yearly update in just about 5 to 6 months. We all know that each update to the iPhone has been favorable and will likely not be any different this summer. Whereas the Verizon iPhone 4 launches with favorable options and will also only get better in time, LTE anyone?

So who’s the real winner in this duel? AT&T? Verizon? Neither. Apple has begun a campaign of market saturation that will spill over onto other carriers. The deal that Verizon signed with Apple is a multi-year, non-exclusive deal. That’s right, in time this CDMA iPhone 4 will be ready to accommodate other carriers, with a few tweaks of course. People are constantly talking about how Android phones own the lions share of the market, but what those people fail to mention, is that the iPhone up to this point has held it’s own while being available exclusively through AT&T. That is all about to change. I for one am excited to see the lateral evolution of the iPhone on different carriers and the network options specific to each host. In the end, iPhone 4 on Verizon is now a reality and we can finally put that rumor to rest, much to the joy of millions no doubt.