Verizon iPhone Hits Stores
Today is the first day you can walk into a store and buy a Verizon-enabled iPhone 4. After years of an exclusive deal with AT&T, Apple's seminal smartphone went on sale in retail stores at 7 a.m. on Feb. 10.
The phones are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so there may be some serious line-standing for consumers, if previous iPhone launches are any indication. The 16GB phone will sell for $199.99 and the 32GB version for $299.99 with a two-year agreement. Similar to AT&T, Verizon is requiring an unlimited data plan with the iPhone, at $29.99 per month.
Verizon opened pre-ordering on Feb. 3, and sold out of its stock within 24 hours; in fact, within the first two hours of availability, the iPhone set a record, outselling every other Verizon phone on its launch day in history. In addition to being available in Apple and Verizon stores, several big-box retailers, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy, will be selling the phone as well.
In most ways, the iPhone 4 Verizon is selling is identical to the version running on the AT&T network. Perhaps the biggest difference is the technology in the networks themselves: AT&T runs on UMTS, and Verizon on CDMA. UMTS is considered superior, since it allows simultaneous voice and data usage, unlike CDMA. That means, for example, that AT&T iPhone users can browse the Web while on a call, while Verizon customers won't be able to. UMTS is also faster than CDMA in most cases.
On the other hand, Verizon's network coverage is generally considered to be better than AT&T's, with fewer dropped calls nationwide. Note that since the phones are on incompatible networks, a Verizon iPhone won't work on the AT&T network, and vice-versa, even though they're both iPhones.
Although AT&T is undoubtedly disappointed to lose its monopoly on the iPhone, it's a deal Apple had to make. Being limited to a single carrier likely suppressed sales a great deal, and joining forces with the largest carrier in the U.S. may help the iPhone regain some of its sales mojo. It's been swiftly losing ground to Google's Android, which has leapfrogged it in the past several months due in no small part to being available in many more places.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.