Here are seven key facts you should know about the Verizon iPhone 4 before you decide to buy it.
Fact #1: This is NOT a 4G LTE device
Verizon launched its 4G LTE network commercially in 38 markets late last year. And while Verizon announced that its network would soon support several LTE smartphones at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it seems that the Apple iPhone will not yet be among them.
Instead, Verizon's iPhone 4 will run on its CDMA-based EV-DO Rev. A 3G network. Neither Verizon nor Apple would comment about when or if an LTE iPhone would be available, although Apple likely won't want to release an LTE iPhone until both Verizon and AT&T have their LTE networks up and running. Apple COO Tim Cook said today that embedding the first generation of LTE chips into the iPhone would have forced some "design compromises" that Apple wasn't willing to make at this time.
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Fact #2: The iPhone on CDMA faces the same limitations as other CDMA phones
CDMA phones face two key limitations that don't affect GSM phones. First, they can't support simultaneous voice and data transmissions, and second, CDMA networks are far less common in the rest of the world than they are in the United States, so you're likely to face limited network connectivity options on your Verizon iPhone when you travel abroad. The CDMA Development Group has said that it plans to have an updated standard that allows for simultaneous voice and data use sometime this year, most likely by the summer.
Fact #3: The Verizon iPhone 4 will cost the same as the AT&T iPhone 4
While there had been some speculation that the CDMA iPhone could cost around $50 more than the GSM iPhone, that has turned out not to be the case. Instead, the 16GB CDMA iPhone 4 will cost $199.99 and the 32GB CDMA iPhone 4 will cost $299.99, the exact same price that their GSM-based counterparts sell for at AT&T. AT&T has recently started slashing the prices of older iPhone models so it will be interesting to see if it cuts the price of the iPhone 4 to gain a competitive advantage over Verizon.
Fact #4: We still don't know what Verizon iPhone 4 data plans look like
It's highly likely that Verizon will offer unlimited data plans for the iPhone 4 since it's a 3G device and Verizon offers unlimited data plans for all of its 3G devices. However, we don't know this for certain yet because Verizon hasn't released any details about pricing for its iPhone data plans. Unless Verizon and Apple decide to do something freaky and wild, though, it's probably safe to assume that an unlimited data plan on the iPhone 4 will cost you the standard $29.99 per month. (Read "What the Verizon iPhone means for you".)
Fact #5: Verizon says there will be no antenna issues
Everyone remember the uproar that occurred this summer when it was revealed that the iPhone 4's poorly-placed antenna made it more likely to drop calls than other mobile devices? And remember how Apple CEO Steve Jobs had to quell the controversy by offering iPhone 4 users free rubber bumper cases to help them prevent signal interference?
Well Verizon says they and Apple have done their homework and that the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 will have no such engineering gaffes. So if you want to buy a rubber bumper for your CDMA iPhone, chances are you're going to have to pay for it.
Fact #6: Current Verizon customers get (limited) first dibs on the iPhone 4
If you're already a Verizon subscriber you'll have the opportunity to pre-order the iPhone for Verizon on Feb. 3, one week before the device becomes available for everyone else on Feb. 10.
Fact #7: You may be better off waiting until the summer to buy your Verizon iPhone
OK, this last one is more opinion than fact, but let's consider some evidence.
Apple likes to make a big splash every June at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple says while it won't comment on when it will release and LTE version of the iPhone, it will certainly want to release one within the next year to keep up with all the other LTE devices that are hitting the market. And finally, consider that AT&T has accelerated its schedule for deploying its LTE network to this summer, possibly as early as June.
When you put all of these facts together, you can make a reasonable case that Apple's next iPhone model released this summer will likely have LTE capabilities. So if you want to make sure your first Verizon iPhone has the fastest available network mobile connectivity, it may make sense for you to see what Apple's got up its sleeve this June.
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