MacMost Now 502: Verizon iPhone Announced

Verizon and Apple announced that the iPhone will be coming to the Verizon network in the U.S. on February 10. There will be a new version of the iPhone 4 to support Verizon's CDMA network.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now.
On today's episode let's talk about the Verizon iPhone.
So yesterday Verizon and Apple had a joint announcement that the iPhone will be coming to the Verizon network in the United States on February 10th in Apple and Verizon stores. Also, existing Verizon customers can pre-order the phone starting February 3rd online.
So the cost for the iPhone 4 is going to be the same as it is on AT&T. With a 2 year Verizon plan you can get a new iPhone for either 200 or 300 dollars, depending upon the amount of storage in the iPhone.
Now you can also pay more, they didn't specify a price, but the full price of the iPhone, and go on the Verizon network without a 2 year commitment.
What's still in question are the plans, the voice and data plans haven't been officially announced yet. So there's only speculation out there that they'll be about the same as the other Verizon smart phone plans, and the current AT&T iPhone plan.
So the biggest piece of news is that it's going to be a different iPhone for Verizon. So there are going to be 2 models, the AT&T model and the Verizon model. The AT&T model, the existing one, uses GSM were as the Verizon one uses CDMA.
So the differences are that CDMA doesn't allow voice and data at the same time, so you can't surf the internet and talk on the phone simultaneously, you put data on hold while you're actually talking. Also, the antenna design is a little bit different so the outer casing for the iPhone has to change, which means the mute switch has to move a little bit, which means the existing iPhone 4 cases won't fit the Verizon iPhone, at least it will cover the mute switch, so there will probably be a whole new set of cases out there, and in the future you're going to have to be careful whether you buy a case that fits the iPhone 4 for AT&T or the case that fits the iPhone 4 for Verizon. Another small difference is that CDMA doesn't use SIM cards, so there is no need for a SIM card slot on the iPhone 4 for Verizon.
Another difference with CDMA is it's available in different countries and fewer countries than GSM, so the Verizon iPhone may not be as useful as the AT&T one for world travelers.
Now as for coverage in the United States, both AT&T and Verizon publish the maps of both their voice and data coverage, and you can see that it looks pretty much about the same except slightly different areas are covered. For instance, look at Southern California, you can see that there different areas covered for each network. So which one is better for you probably depends a lot on exactly what area you live.
Now a new feature of the iPhone for Verizon is mobile hotspot. This allows you to create a small Wi-Fi network around your iPhone and connect to up to 5 devices using your iPhone's internet connection. So you can for instance, connect your Mac book to the internet through your iPhone. There is no cable involved, it simply connects to the iPhone just as you would connect to your airport base station.
Now most likely this is going to cost extra, they didn't specify it, but on other phones you have to pay an extra amount to be able to use this feature, and on AT&T, a similar feature "tethering" costs a little bit more as well.
So there will be a lot of people switching from AT&T to Verizon, and one of the things you may have to do if you're going to do that is to pay AT&T to get out of your contract. So check with AT&T to see how much that's going to cost. The amount goes down a little bit every month. Remember you got your iPhone at a discounted price because AT&T subsidized it, so breaking your contract is kind of like paying AT&T back for that subsidy.
One of the things you may want to consider is the fact that once you pay the money and break the contract you may be able to resell your AT&T phone, say on EBay, and recoup some of the money that you lost by breaking the contract.
So one thing to check out is Verizon's sight, on a set of pages they have some frequently asked questions that are particularly useful if you're an existing Verizon customer and you want to see what you need to do to switch to an iPhone.
One question being asked a lot is "Does the change in the antenna to CDMA fix the problem where if you grip the iPhone 4 wrong it lost reception" well it's too early to tell because nobody outside of Verizon or Apple has this new version of the iPhone, so there's really no data. We're going to have to wait to see when it comes out and thousands of people have it and we actually have some good numbers.
Another question is, is should people wait until the summer when a new version of the iPhone comes out, and switch to Verizon then. Well, Apple hasn't said anything about a new version of the iPhone, although it's a pretty good bet because 4 years in a row they've come out with iPhone's during the summer. So whether it's worth it to you to wait for summer and see if they come out with a new version of the iPhone and switch then, well that's up to you, there's always going to be a new version of the iPhone, always just around the corner, and at some point you're probably going to be stuck with one that's one version behind.
So there's the summary of the Verizon iPhone news, until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.