Verizon’s iPhone 4 On February 10: The Good + The Bad News | iLounge Backstage

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Verizon’s iPhone 4 On February 10: The Good + The Bad News

Here’s a quick list of the positives and negatives regarding the new Verizon CDMA iPhone 4, announced today for February 10, 2011 availability.

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What’s good: Millions of Verizon Wireless customers who have spent literally years waiting for an iPhone of any sort will be able to get them on February 10.

What’s bad: The Verizon iPhone is a modestly modified iPhone 4, released in the middle of Apple’s traditional one-year upgrade cycle, and does not bring major obvious advantages over the version that has been sold since June, 2010 on other networks.

What’s good: Verizon’s iPhone 4 will, unlike the GSM version, allow five devices to share the cellular data plan over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB using the iPhone as a hotspot. It’s called Personal Hotspot and appears within the Settings menu between Wi-Fi and Notifications.

What’s bad: The CDMA iPhone 4 cannot handle voice calling and data at the same time. Data services will stop when a phone call comes in.

What’s good: Verizon suggests that its CDMA (3G) network is capable of delivering the network quality AT&T lacks in many cities, with robust bandwidth so that millions of iPhone users can be added to its towers without the sorts of connectivity and calling problems AT&T iPhone users have faced.

What’s bad: It’s very likely that the actual speed of the data services will be slower on Verizon’s network than on AT&T’s, which is to say that if you’re in a city where AT&T’s network is performing well—fast and reliable—Verizon will be a step down from AT&T rather than a step up.

What’s good: Verizon’s version of the iPhone will get the same 7 hours of promised battery life for calling as the GSM version over 3G.

What’s bad: Verizon’s iPhone will not get the 14 hours of 2G talk time offered as a fallback on the GSM iPhone 4.

What’s good: Verizon’s phone calling through the iPhone will likely cover a larger reliable U.S. service area than AT&T’s.

What’s bad: Verizon’s CDMA network isn’t supported in most other countries, so the lack of GSM support in the Verizon iPhone 4 makes this particular product less ideal than the GSM iPhones to being used outside the United States; according to Apple, it has been optimized specifically for performance in this one country. It does not have a GSM card slot.

What’s good: Prices remain the same for the CDMA and GSM iPhone 4s.

What’s bad: Verizon doesn’t have the now $49 iPhone 3GS, so the only way to get into an iPhone on the CDMA network is to pay $200.

What’s good: The CDMA iPhone 4 doesn’t appear to have any Verizon branding or bloatware—besides the word Verizon at the top of the screen in the carrier name area—and runs iOS 4.2.5 out of the box.

What’s bad: Apple made antenna changes that resulted in small changes to the locations of the Ringer Switch and Volume Buttons, so there may be compatibility issues with some of the thousand or so iPhone 4 cases already released. Word on the street is that the device may still have signal attenuation issues, now when it’s held in landscape mode rather than portrait, due to antenna position changes. It’s unclear whether this is accurate or not, but we’ve heard it called “the death hug”—something that will need to be tested independently for confirmation. Also, we might see some other hidden differences between this phone and the earlier GSM version, as Apple sometimes uses mid-cycle refreshes as an opportunity to introduce new security features that aren’t obvious.

What’s good: Verizon customers will get access to Visual Voicemail.

What’s bad: Existing Verizon customers will lose their old voicemail boxes, including all messages and greetings, so they will need to listen to everything they want to hear before making the transition. “All existing messages will be erased and can not be recovered” once an iPhone 4 is activated, Verizon notes.

What’s good: Verizon will offer a contract-free version of the iPhone 4 so that you needn’t commit to a two-year service plan for the device at the time of purchase.

What’s bad: The Verizon iPhone 4 will only work on Verizon’s network, and existing iPhone devices will not work on Verizon’s network at all, so purchasing a new phone at either full or subsidized pricing is the sole way to become a Verizon iPhone user. Apple will almost certainly attempt to change this by offering true “LTE/4G worldphone” versions of the next iPhone, but for now, it’s two different phones for two different types of networks.

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Comments

1

I am soooo glad I live in Europe. Even as an American living in Europe this just goes to show how in many ways the US is third worldly when it comes to cell technology.

Posted by Don Trammell on January 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM (CST)

2

With regards to the statement: “Data services will stop when a phone call comes in.”

Please clarify. Does data stop when the phone is ringing? What if I hit Ignore instead of Accept for the incoming call? Is the data still interrupted? Or is it only when I Accept the incoming call that data is cut off?

Also, what about texting? Does that interrupte data, too?

Posted by Joe on January 11, 2011 at 12:43 PM (CST)

3

Leave it to iLounge to separate the wheat from the chaff. Excellent article that distills the main points of the announcement.

I for one have been happy with ATT (central Ohio) and plan to remain with them. But I have Verizon friends chomping at the bit to get an iPhone. Now’s their chance!

Posted by Kermit on January 11, 2011 at 12:57 PM (CST)

4

@Kermit: I have had zero issues as well and I too am in Ohio (NE).

The lack of 2G network support and no simultaneous data/voice kinda takes the wind outta Verizon’s sails in my opinion…

Posted by Miller on January 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM (CST)

5

@Dan. Its not that the US is third world. It’s that our networks have been up for a long time. Way before Europe.  We do incremental increases here while smaller countries can jump from the dark ages to highly advanced in a short time period.  Before Cingular bought ATT they were on a form of CDMA called TDMA and if you think they dropped calls now you should’ve seen them back then. Good thing us we’re switching to LTE here before everyone else does.

Posted by Kevin on January 11, 2011 at 1:35 PM (CST)

6

As an ATT iphone 3G user, I know that one cannot have more than one app open. Also, the moment a phone call comes in, the app shuts down. So, I am assuming that is part of the limitations of the CDMA network, similar to ATT’s GSM. Is is really important that voice & data connections work simultaneously when the above occurs? That stated, I called ATT last night and was told that since I am a 3G user with the old data plan I can upgrade to the iphone 4 with the same plan(grandfathered in, so to speak). However, may wait until spring when new phone comes out. Still not convinced that Verizon is a better network than ATT. Comments?

Posted by kevin davis on January 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM (CST)

7

Others are reporting that this will be a multi-year non-exclusive deal so it’s possible we’ll see the iPhone on other networks as well.

By the time my current phone’s contract expires, we should know whether the iPhone works any better on Verizon’s network than it did on AT&T.

Any word yet on plan pricing?

Posted by Paul on January 11, 2011 at 2:38 PM (CST)

8

I love living in a country (New Zealand) where handsets aren’t locked to networks. I can use my iPhone on any of NZ’s three main mobile networks with a simple change on SIM card.

Posted by Lawrence Mikkelsen in New Zealand on January 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM (CST)

9

What a dog of a phone.  The whole idea of a smart phone is to be able to multitask. The original iPhone may not of had native back grounding, but it could at least allow a phone call and internet assess for e-mail.  This Verizon version seems a step back. You can take a call and check e-mails already on the device, but you can’t download new ones while in call? No thanks.  As for the whole behind the world in cell technology, well yea however the major cell companies are trying to get it up to date.

Posted by David on January 11, 2011 at 3:16 PM (CST)

10

I have both ATT iPhone 4 and Verizon PalmPrePlus.
On iPhone 3G/3GS/4 you can simultaneously 1.talk on the phone, 2.text another number, 3.use MobileSafari, 4.miwi to other devices(jailbroken) ALL at the SAME time, hence ‘simultaneously’. Some apps will ‘pause’, so just reopen and continue playing your tower defense game while doing the above mentioned activity. :)
I’m in Los Angeles, so far Verizon has a better call coverage, but their data network is spotty.
Can’t wait for LTE iPhone and networks.  The way Apple does biz is in 2011 the iPhone 4GS will be released, then in 2012 when the LTE networks are ‘up and running’, the iPHone 5 LTE will be epic. :)

Kevin, I suggest you get the upgrade, by then end of your contract switch if Verizon really beats AT&T.

“As an ATT iphone 3G user, I know that one cannot have more than one app open. Also, the moment a phone call comes in, the app shuts down. So, I am assuming that is part of the limitations of the CDMA network, similar to ATT’s GSM. Is is really important that voice & data connections work simultaneously when the above occurs? That stated, I called ATT last night and was told that since I am a 3G user with the old data plan I can upgrade to the iphone 4 with the same plan(grandfathered in, so to speak). However, may wait until spring when new phone comes out. Still not convinced that Verizon is a better network than ATT. Comments?

Posted by kevin davis on January 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM (PDT)”

Posted by Woo Lee on January 11, 2011 at 3:35 PM (CST)

11

No voice and data at the same time is a limitation of CDMA 1X/EVDO technology; BlackBerrys that run on Verizon are the same way. No way around it until LTE.

Posted by Mike P on January 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM (CST)

12

woo lee-it sounds like you know your stuff. I can upgrade now(was waiting for wife to end obligation before upgraded anyway so both could upgrade at same time). I have read a bit regarding LTE networks. Would you think that Apple/ATT/Verizon would have a software upgrade for new network or have to wait the two years? Was not aware I could multitask. Now I know. My biggest issue with ATT over the years(and several cell phones) is dropped calls. However, I find that I mostly use iphone 3G for news, apps, etc., far more than actual phone. Thanks for the information.

Posted by kevin davis on January 11, 2011 at 4:35 PM (CST)

13

@David - Do you really find it that important to be able to receive e-mail while having a conversation with someone else? You should be focusing on the other end of the conversation, not on your incoming e-mails. Besides, we all know an LTE iPhone is coming, and you can always use WiFi data during a call. For those who can live without simultaneous voice and data until the next Verizon iPhone release and are itching to use an iPhone on a CDMA network, like myself, this is great news.

Posted by Steve on January 11, 2011 at 10:32 PM (CST)

14

Lack of LTE is a deal-breaker for me, and I was so looking forward to moving to Verizon.  I prefer to be able to check a calendar or other apps while in call, and can’t do it on the CDMA EVDO phone. 

Glad to see the mobile hot spot and unlimited data plans…that makes it much more tempting, but I believe I’ll wait a few more months for the next generation and hope it an LTE-capable model appears.

Posted by Laura on January 12, 2011 at 12:04 AM (CST)

15

For Kevin Davis- Looks like Apple will have to incorporate a hardware update to access LTE.  I would have to guess that Apple will ‘entice’ users to upgrade the hardware as Apple has in the past two years.  I’ve haven’t had a lot of problems with AT&T until the past two months. So I’m hoping by the time my current contract is up I’ll have a choice of 3 or 4 LTE-spec providers will be available.  I too have used the iPhone and my PPP less as a phone and more of an internet devices, and the usefulness of the apps have me looking to be an early adopter of the V.iPhone4.  But the 2GB. limit on mobile hotspot access vs. the PPP’s 5GB. is speculative, plus the PPP is a ‘free’ access to the 5GB/mo. mobile hotspot.
Enjoy the iPhone4 until the LTE capable one comes out, hopefully by then the unlimited data plan stays in effect. :)

Posted by Woo Lee on January 12, 2011 at 3:16 AM (CST)

16

Hmm… this is a definite ‘woo-hoo’ news for die-hard Verizon users.

My 2 cents; you can’t change carriers, casings differ due to the volume/silent button, and worst of all you can’t use when you travel overseas.

As mentioned, only for die-hard Verizon users who want to get a taste of the iOS

Posted by Sebastian Lim on January 12, 2011 at 3:36 AM (CST)

17

ok the phone doesn’t work for calls when you are overseas…but can you use it for wifi when traveling abroad?

Posted by Liz on January 12, 2011 at 4:40 AM (CST)

18

#17-Considering that wi-fi is a fairly country-agnostic standard, yes, you can use it for wi-fi while traveling abroad.

Posted by Daniel S. on January 12, 2011 at 6:38 AM (CST)

19

I suspect that due to the slow CDMA verizon network the Iphone will underperform on the data side. Fast data is so critical to the iphone experience that the reviews may be mixed. The Verizon loyalist will blame Apple. Verizon should have sucked it up and waited for the 4g version. Also, the predicted mass exodus from at&t will only happen for the customers in the major metropolitan areas where AT&T is bad. That loss will help the AT&T congestion problem and improve the quality overall. In my area AT&T is not as reliable as Verizon (I have a verizon Blackberry for business) however it is almost as good and the data is WAY faster on AT&T. I suspect the biggest loser will be Blackberry. Many personal Blackberry customers will wake up and discover the awesome Iphone.

Posted by Michael DeMaio on January 12, 2011 at 1:42 PM (CST)

20

@Steve. Yes I would expect to use data while on a phone call. Many of us have conference calls during the week where we are not actively participating 100% of the time on said conference call. In today’s world, multi-tasking is a requirement to get things done.  SO yes many of us responsible adults that have families and jobs find it necessary to be on a phone call AND have the ability to get others things done.

I’m on AT&T now and I would like to switch to V since my contract is up, but I can’t because I must be able to do phone and data calls simultaneously.  This is the number one deal-breaker for me…and probably is for thousands if not millions of other working people.

Posted by Psyclone on January 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM (CST)

21

As a former VZW customer (Palm Treo), their unlimited data plans cost a little bit more (about $5/mo) than A&T. My monthly bill all-inclusive with employer discount dropped from $80 to $72 when I switched to AT&T.

Also be aware that “unlimited” data has a very special meaning at Verizon - it actually means nothing of the sort!  They get very annoyed and can cut you off if you go over 5GB/mo. This was a huge problem for early-adopters of smart-phones 2-3 years ago (aah yes, the good old days of core media player for windows mobile, and streaming gobs of data via Orb!)  Anyone planning on using the iPhone hot-spot feature as their home internet connection for things like netflix streaming, might be in for an unpleasant surprise when the bill arrives.

Posted by Dopial on January 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM (CST)

22

@19: Gee, I guess all those happy Android users on VZW don’t know what they’re missing. CDMA is not inherently slow to the point that it will affect “the iPhone experience” as you put it. Sure, there will be areas where performance is not great, but the same can be said with AT&T’s network.

@21: VZW will not shut you down nor charge you more if you reach 5GB of data in a month. Your connection may be throttled back, and while that’s not ideal, it is not as you describe.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on January 12, 2011 at 6:07 PM (CST)

23

Actually Steve, for those of us who tether with their iphone 4, the lack of simultaneous voice and data is a big deal. How would I be able to take control of a presentation in a meeting I’d dialed into without being able to use this feature?

Posted by Michael Burns on January 12, 2011 at 6:45 PM (CST)

24

As an businessman who travels overseas a lot and with the lack of simultaneous voice and data, it would be pointless for me to make the switch to VZW. When an LTE version of the iPhone comes out, I may make the switch, even then I may still hold off as I really don’t have any issues with AT&T. Kermit and Miller, I live in Ohio as well, N.E. Ohio to be exact.

Posted by Pearson on January 13, 2011 at 12:43 AM (CST)

25

I would submit that those who claim the no voice/data issue is a non-issue are simply turning a blind eye to a glaring problem with their favorite network.

I personally find it quite useful to have both voice and data available and sometimes (this is for Steven in comment #13) in both personal and business situations it is important to be able do both. Denying that this is a useful tool would be like saying there is no practical use for the WiFi hotspot and simply using the phone should be enough.

As for WiFi, it’s not always where you are unless you sit in your house or the local coffee shop all day. Then again VZWs data network is so slow that I can’t imagine WANTING to do both voice and data at once.

Posted by baggss on January 13, 2011 at 2:58 AM (CST)

26

Question: there is no simultaneous voice-and-data, but how does it work with non-data-downloading functions? I use MobileMe to manage my contacts and calendar, but as far as I know that data is synced and lives on the phone, not left in the cloud where I have to download it each time I access it. The email I’ve already downloaded is living on the phone is it not? Or if it’s IMAP (like MobileMe mail) do I lose the ability to look at ANY email while I talk?

And what about an app like Words with Friends? I’m guessing it doesn’t talk to the server while you’re pondering a move: it’s downloaded the current game state and it ought to be local on the phone, does that mean I could be playing it while on a call?

Posted by Lee on January 13, 2011 at 11:01 AM (CST)

27

Psychlone-thank you for the confirmation regarding voice/data usage simultaneously. I was unaware that it could be done as I only have a 3G, though do understand that the 3GS & 4 can do it. Since my contract is up I can stay or switch. I reviewed the 3G & 4G networks and see many advertisements for the latter. However, many are talking of the LTE network which seems to be the true 4G network(which is still being built). I have also read of an updated iphone 4(iphone 5?) coming out this spring. I will probably end up waiting until spring. One note regarding your comment, we are all adults with busy lives who multi-task. No need for the sarcasm. Have a great day!

Posted by kevin davis on January 13, 2011 at 1:29 PM (CST)

28

is verizon network than at&t? i never said it but im not on verizon if you can quit complaining on at&t then go verizon. i will probably stay at&t’s strongly believe in 3 bars serivce still life when i buy a new iphone 4 next month. att is my life 4ever:)

Posted by enzo on February 10, 2011 at 2:19 AM (CST)

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