Today the tech world shifted it’s eyes from the desert of Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics show east to the Big Apple and the much anticipated Verizon media event. Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam took the stage and gushed over the technological advancements Verizon has made, and the products it offers its customers. He talked extensively about Verizon’s LTE initiative to offer mobile customers blazing fast data transfers.
Very unapplesque, just eight minutes into the presentation he confirmed that the Verizon iPhone 4 does in fact exist, and then was joined on stage with Apple’s COO, Tim Cook who exclaimed “I am incredibly happy to be with you all today. We’ve been looking forward to today for a long time. Since 2007 the iPhone has been a phenomenal success.” Cook then confirmed what many analysts have expected for a long time, Apple has forgone the LTE network in its infancy just as they did the 3G network with the first iPhone in 2007. The Verizon iPhone 4 will have the same 5 megapixel camera, A4 chip and HD video capabilities as the current AT&T iPhone 4.
Dan Dee of Verizon talked about what has been on everyone’s mind, “When will we actually be able to buy the Verizon iPhone?”. In an unprecedented move Apple and Verizon will offer existing customers the ability to pre-order the iPhone on Feb. 3rd, while all new customers will be able to purchase the iPhone 4 on Feb. 10th. This sure seems to be an effort to keep the Verizon and Apple servers from crashing like we saw back in July when the iPhone 4 was released on AT&T. Customers sat at their computers for hours frustrated that they could only get through portions of the ordering process.
The pricing for the iPhone 4 on Verizon will be the same as on AT&T, $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB, but with one HUGE addition, the phone will also act as a mobile hotspot and be able to connect up to five devices. There were no specifics as to if there would be an additional tethering charge like on AT&T, but with the way Dan Dee went about it I would say it’s included in the data pricing.
The question arose as to why Apple didn’t go the LTE route and Tim Cook explained, “Two reasons — the first gen LTW chipsets force design changes we wouldn’t make. And Verizon customers told us they want the iPhone now. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been asked ‘when will it work on Verizon.”
The CDMA iPhone with Verizon is a multi-year, long term, non exclusive deal which is a good business decision for Apple as it will no longer have to wait for exclusivity deals to expire to enter into new relationships with other carriers.
According to Apple’s Tim Cook, the antenna has been tweaked to work with the CDMA network not to alleviate any reception issues, and as Verizon customers are already aware on CDMA you can’t receive data while being on a phone call which was also reiterated from Ars Technica in a very pointed question.
Data pricing was not commented on during the media event, nor was there any mention of bringing back unlimited data plans for the iPhone so we will have to assume that the data pricing for iPhone 4 on Verizon will be the same as it is now for their other smartphones.
So, Techno Buffalo readers there you have it, on 1/1/11, at 11am, in New York City, Apple and Verizon have entered into a business relationship that we have all speculated on for years. This marks an important time in the wireless industry in the United States as it is now the first time customers will be offered in essence the same phone on multiple carriers.
Some questions still remain-Will the Verizon networks suffer under the demand of iPhone users?, Will AT&T take a big financial loss with a mass customer exodus to Verizon? We will all find out in the very near future but we would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.