Verizon is getting the iPhone.
Some people told me that it wasn’t happening. They were wrong. Here’s why.
Verizon needed the iPhone – The iPhone is too popular, too much of a game-changer for Verizon not to want it. No matter how much Verizon promoted the Droid and the Android OS phones, they weren’t going to have the sheer draw that the iPhone has.
Apple needed Verizon – The iPhone has reached saturation on AT&T’s network. Because of the strain that iPhone users have placed on AT&T’s feeble 3g network, because so many people simply hate AT&T, the number of iPhone customers was limited. Recently, Android OS-based phones passed the total number of iOS-based phones. As long as the iPhone was only available on one network – not all 4 – it wouldn’t be able to keep up with the growth of the Android OS devices. There’s no way that Apple would sit by and lose market share.
Your 16 gb model is $199 with a 2 year contract; 32 gb is $299. This is the same as AT&T. What we don’t see, however, is the cost of the data plans and texting. Looking at the Verizon website, it looks like data for most of the other smart phones is $30.00/month, so we’re probably going to have unlimited data for $30.00/month. Obviously, nothing is for sure, but that’s what I expect. And I was right about the other thing, so I’m worth trusting. :-)
Free Mobile HotSpot
This is huge – not just free MiFi, but a free mobile HotSpot with your iPhone. Normally, Verizon charges $20.00/month for this feature, but they’re offering it free on the iPhone. AT&T only recently supports tethering on the iPhone (for a fee), and they still don’t offer MiFi.
This is disappointing to me, but not totally unexpected. LTE – Long Term Evolution – is Verizon’s 4g voice+data network. It’s faster, more stable, and can support more traffic than CDMA or 3g. So what does this mean? It means that, unlike the GSM (AT&T) iPhone, you can’t browse the web or use data while talking on the phone. If I were already on Verizon’s network, this wouldn’t bother me, but I’m not switching to Verizon until the CDMA iPhone is available on LTE.
I hope to see this improvement in the next iPhone release (mid-summer, 2011), but definitely by 2012.
Traditionally, Apple releases their devices every year – new iPhones every summer, new Macs every fall, new iPods every year before Christmas (and, presumably, new iPads every spring). Does this mean that we’ll see two separate iPhone releases – one for AT&T and one for Verizon – each year?
I doubt it.
I expect that, when the new iPhone (iPhone 5, I presume) is announced this summer, it will include upgrades for the CDMA iPhone, as well. Why? Because Apple doesn’t want to have two separate products with different features all the time. The CDMA iPhone 4 has identical tech specs to the GSM iPhone 4 – same processor, same screen, same high-level gyroscope thing – the only difference is in the wireless chip. I’d be shocked if both the GSM and CDMA iPhones weren’t upgraded at the same time – this summer – with a possible announcement of LTE compatibility for the CDMA device. If the CDMA iPhone isn’t released with LTE compatibility this summer, it will be in 2012. I’m sure of it.
When I Can Haz It?
If you’re currently a Verizon Wireless subscriber, you can order the new iPhone starting February 3rd. If you’re planning on switching over, it will be available February 10th. You should probably start waiting in line immediately.
Verizon has no exclusivity contract with Apple on this, so a Sprint version may not be far off. Also, for you potential switchers, the design is ALMOST identical, but there is one little tiny change – and it means none of the existing cases for the iPhone 4 will fit it without some modification. Fail.
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UPDATE: John Gruber – one of the best Apple analysts/commentators (and my favorite blogger) – doesn’t think the next generation CDMA iPhone will be LTE compatible. He makes some good points, and he’s probably right. The only way we’ll see it is if Apple finds a way to combine CDMA compatibility in with LTE, so you have a phone that works on LTE when available, but you can turn it off and use CDMA the rest of the time (much like the iPhone 3G).