After literally years of rumors, leaks, and speculation, Verizon Wireless has just made it official: it’s going to start offering a version of the Apple iPhone 4 in February.
3G Not 4G
Despite what some of the early rumors said, the upcoming version will not support Verizon’s new 4G network which uses the LTE standard. Instead, it will offer this carrier’s 3G service.
Speaking at today’s announcement, Tim Cook, Apple’s COO, said that including LTE in this device would have required too many design changes and slowed the release.
Still, Verizon’s version will have a significant difference from AT&T’s: it will include mobile hotspot software, allowing it to share its 3G wireless connection with other WiFi-enabled computers. There will be an extra monthly charge for this, though.
But this version will have a drawback: it won’t provide simultaneous voice and cellular data. When on a call, users won’t have access to 3G wireless data services. Wi-Fi connections will still function, of course.
Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam spent part of today’s announcement event talking about how his company has increased the data capacity of its network in recent months to prepare for the launch of the iPhone 4. It is hoping to avoid the problems AT&T has had meeting customers’ demand for wireless data.
Pricing and Availability
The Apple iPhone 4 is going to debut from Verizon on February 10. Current Verizon customers are going to get a chance to pre-order this model on February 3.
There will be two versions: one with 16 GB of storage will sell for $200 with a two-year wireless service contract, while the 32 GB version will go for $300 with contract. These are the same prices AT&T charges.
A Shake-up Is Coming
This one move will likely have a noticeable effect on the entire U.S. mobile market.
The iPhone is the 500-pound gorilla of smartphones, making Apple’s iOS one of the most used mobile operating systems even when it was only available from AT&T. Verizon has more subscribers than its rival, potentially more than doubling the number of iPhones on the market.
Over the last year, Verizon has sold millions of Android OS-based models. It’s quite possible that many of these customers will switch to an iPhone, cutting into sales of devices from Motorola, HTC, and Samsung.
AT the same time, many analysts have predicted that large numbers of AT&T subscribers are going to switch to Verizon, as they were only staying with AT&T to get Apple’s popular smartphone.
Additional Details on the Apple iPhone 4
Verizon’s and AT&T’s versions of Apple’s latest smartphone are virtually identical. They both runs iOS 4.2 on the 1 GHz Apple A4 processor.
No matter which carrier offers it, the iPhone 4 has a tablet shape with a 3.5-inch, 960 x 640 touchscreen.
Its rear-facing camera has a 5 megapixel resolution and an LCD flash.