The Verizon iPhone is here and we break down everything you need to know about it. The new iPhone was announced this morning and goes on sale February 10th for all new Verizon customers. Existing Verizon customers can preorder the phone now and get it on February 3rd. The Verizon iPhone will cost $199 (16GB version), and $299 (32GB version) with a two-year minimum contract. Verizon has yet to release any pricing information for their data/voice plans. So what’s different about the iPhone now that it has hit Verizon? A redesigned antenna to work with their network and a “Personal Hotspot” feature.
In order for the iPhone to properly work on Verizon’s CDMA network, as opposed to AT&T’s GSM network, the iPhone’s antenna and guts had to be modified. There are both pros and cons for this change. Early reports are coming in that show the Verizon iPhone may not be susceptible to the plaguing “death grip” issues that are seen with AT&T’s iPhone 4 which resulted in reception attenuation when the user covered certain areas of the phone. The new hardware has relocated the antenna notches from two on the bottom corners and one near the headphone jack, to one antenna notch on each corner. Some of the disadvantages of Verizon’s CDMA network mean the loss of simultaneous use of both voice and data. This means you are unable to send an email or search for something online during a phone call. Existing CDMA Verizon users won’t care since they have never had the chance to do this before anyways. Another disadvantage is the phone’s limited use internationally. Currently their are only 40 countries that have CDMA carriers.
Verizon also introduced their “Personal Hotspot” feature for the iPhone. A simple toggle in the Settings app will allow the user to make their iPhone a hotspot and provide an internet connection for up to five devices. Verizon has yet to release a pricing model for use of this feature.
Before you decide to jump ship from AT&T or upgrade to an iPhone on Verizon, I would wait. Apple has consistently announced a new iPhone each June and shipped in July. Unless you feel like taking a risk and locking yourself into another long term contract, wait for the new iPhone to come out—this one is more or less a reincarnation of a phone that has been out for awhile.