In less than 24 hours, and just over four years after the original iPhone was born, Verizon Wireless is poised to announce its own version of Apple's device. Needless to say, it will be a very big deal for the iPhone in the United States. Not only will it end AT&T's monopoly on the popular handset, but also Verizon Wireless stands to gain millions of new subscribers who've been waiting eagerly for years.
Indeed, it will ensure a very good year for Big Red. Even as it was enjoying a hugely successful CES 2011 with a gallery of 4G handsets and the award-winning Motorola Xoom tablet, the carrier told reporters last Friday that it would be sharing "the latest news" January 11, tomorrow, at 11 a.m. ET at New York's Lincoln Center. The invite didn't mention an iPhone specifically, but given the avalanche of leaks in recent days, all signs on the wireless Magic 8-Ball are pointing to yes.
Yet, even with the big news almost confirmed, there is still plenty we don't know. Just what will the Verizon iPhone offer, for example, and how will it differ from its AT&T counterpart? At its core, it won't vary much. It should have the same design and it shouldn't offer any new features. Remember that Apple is all about consistency and a uniform experience. That said, however, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
Network This, of course, is the biggest "what if." Given AT&T's iPhone troubles, many consumers are looking to the Verizon iPhone to cure their wireless woes. This is understandable, but I'd caution against thinking that Verizon's iPhone experience will be without any problems. Sure, Verizon runs a very tight network ship. You can get it almost anywhere, you can keep a call once you have it, and the carrier continually wins awards from third-party sources. That success has earned Verizon a lot of respect for its voice network and it will hold on to that image zealously. What's more, Verizon has undoubtedly learned from AT&T's misfortunes and it will not follow its rival in underestimating the infrastructure it needs.
Still, you can't forget that you're using a cellular network that's subject to the same factors that affect service on AT&T. Your location, urban density, geography, and how many users are on the network at one time will continue to affect service. Though I hear fewer complaints from iPhone users outside of urban areas, iPhone users in other countries have grumbled. A phone's reception depends on more than just the carrier, as the phone itself also plays a part. We've used plenty of other AT&T smartphones and don't get quite the experience that we do on the iPhone. … Read more