The rumors have been circulating for the past year about when Verizon Wireless™ would be getting the iPhone™ and as of last Friday the rumors exploded with the leak of a January 11th 11am EST announcement. For those consumers who have been holding out for the iPhone to come to Verizon or for those that are fed up with AT&T, the wait is finally over: Verizon will begin selling the iPhone 4 on February 10, 2011, with a pre-order available to existing customers on February 3rd.
Here are the details
As you might have already read, the iPhone 4 for Verizon is pretty much the same as the current AT&T iPhone 4. The three main differences are the Verizon iPhone includes a mobile hotspot connectivity capability, there is no SIM card slot and customers cannot use data capabilities while talking on the phone. The hotspot feature allows up to 5 devices to be connected via Wi-Fi to share the phones 3G data connection. This is a feature that is not currently available on the AT&T iPhone 4, however it is unclear if this extra feature will be free or if Verizon will charge users extra to use this feature. Either way it is a cool extra for Verizon iPhone users, however we doubt this feature alone would make someone jump to the Verizon iPhone 4.
The reason the Verizon iPhone 4 does not have a SIM card is that Verizon does not use SIM cards on any of its devices. This might be a concern for consumers looking to switch from AT&T that are used to having a SIM card. Current Verizon Wireless customers are used to functioning fine without a SIM card and the new iPhone 4 will not be any different for them.
The last difference is the Verizon iPhone will not be able to handle voice and data at the same time. This is the only real concern/difference that we see could be a problem. This is however a current problem for all Smartphones on the CDMA network, so once again this is not new to current Verizon customers. It will definitely be a deciding factor however for anyone looking to switch carriers as AT&T’s GSM network does allow for simultaneous data and voice usage. It could also be a deciding factor if you are a current Verizon customer and have been looking forward to the new 4G LTE network. The Verizon iPhone 4 is a 3G phone and from the announcement today a 4G LTE version isn’t coming in the near future. The 4G LTE network is said to have simultaneous data and voice capabilities.
Why tech users and developers are excited about the expansion
The iPhone coming to Verizon Wireless has the potential to expand Apple®’s iPhone user base and App store consumer base. I believe that there are three types of consumers that will be looking to purchase the iPhone on Verizon Wireless; consumers who wanted an iPhone but were loyal to Verizon, consumers who have an iPhone and are fed up with AT&T prompting a carrier change and lastly consumers that have been locked into a 2 year contract with a non-Smartphone and are finally able to purchase a Smartphone (which is 70 percent of mobile phone users). In two out of the three consumer types, if they purchase an iPhone with Verizon Wireless, they will be new iPhone customers and new App Store customers. According to the Wall Street Journal analysts estimate that Verizon will sell between 9-12 million iPhones in 2011.
As a mobile app development company we are excited to see the user base expand increasing the demand for good mobile applications. We develop mobile applications for our clients on all mobile platforms (iPhone, Blackberry®, Android™ and Windows® Phone 7) and constantly see a need for iPhone app development and multi-platform app development. We believe this could lead to an increased demand for developing mobile applications, as more people use the iPhone they will see needs that can be filled with custom mobile applications. The Verizon iPhone will utilize the Apple app store and will be able to run the same apps as the current AT&T iPhone. With that said there will be an increased marketing potential for creators of existing apps who will now have 9-12 million new iPhone owners to market their apps to.