After years of ceaseless speculation, rumor, hype and disappointment, the Verizon iPhone is finally a reality. The nation's largest wireless operator paired with the world's most iconic smartphone. Jan. 11 may be celebrated in coming years as a sort of second Christmas for Apple worshippers and phone geeks everywhere.They'll just have to wait one more month until it's actually in their grasp, likely after waiting on long lines outside Apple Stores and Verizon Wireless outlets in the mid-winter chill. What they won't get is a 4G-ready version of the iPhone, since Verizon is launching the Apple device on its 3G network.
At Verizon's press event today announcing the coming of the iPhone, Apple COO Tim Cook explained that the existing LTE technology Verizon uses to power its 4G network would've required design compromises the company was unwilling to make.Verizon may have to wait until Apple introduces an iPhone 5 in June, when it typically launches new versions of the device, to offer a 4G version. In response, AT&T -- no longer exclusive with the iPhone -- might be tempted to bill itself as the only carrier offering a 4G version of the iPhone, since last week it began applying the "4G" label to its existing HSPA+ network.
AT&T had already begun taking shots at the Verizon iPhone, telling iPhone users to get "ready for life in the slow lane" while continuing to tout itself as the "fastest mobile broadband network." Separately, Verizon confirmed that iPhone users on its CDMA-based network won't be able to talk and use data at the same time -- as they now can on AT&T's GSM-based network.
AT&T already highlighted the iPhone's multitasking capability in its prior ad battle with Verizon over 3G coverage, and is sure to hammer on the lack of that feature in the Verizon iPhone. Verizon's reported offer of an unlimited data plan with the iPhone would be an advantage over AT&T, which caps data use at two gigabytes per month for $25.
Verizon is also throwing in a hotspot feature for the iPhone, allowing tethering for up to five WiFi devices, like an iPad or MacBook. AT&T, which doesn't currently offer a mobile hotspot service with the iPhone, told Business Insider today it's "evaluating" the feature. Another plus for Verizon.
Now that the country's two largest carriers have the same device, it will become the new weapon in their epic battle for customers. From a consumer standpoint, that should lead to a better iPhone from both carriers. From an advertising perspective, it will likely also fuel another marketing duel between Verizon and AT&T. Now that there's a choice when it comes to the iPhone, it's a whole new ballgame.