Verizon Wireless introduced the highly anticipated, CDMA version of Apple's iPhone 4. The device will go on sale Feb. 10 online and in stores from Verizon Wireless and Apple.
NEW YORK -- Verizon Wireless and Apple Jan. 11 said
they will launch a CDMA version of Apple's iPhone 4, confirming what
the mobile tech world has been speculating about since AT&T
launched the iPhone in 2007.
The multiyear deal is non-exclusive. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead
said at a launch event here that existing Verizon Wireless customers
will be able to preorder the Verizon iPhone 4 exclusively online Feb.
3. Verizon's 3G network will power the handset.
New customers will be able to purchase the device Feb. 10 online and
in stores from Verizon Wireless, and Apple. With new contracts, the
device will cost $199.99 for the 16GB model and $299.99 for the 32GB
"It's been the worst kept secret that wireless customers have been asking for the iPhone on Verizon," Mead said.
Apple COO Tim Cook acknowledged the Verizon iPhone 4 handset is
similar to the AT&T iPhone 4, from the FaceTime video chat
application to the crisp Retina display.
The handset also sports the original iPhone 4's LED flash, HD video
recording, 5 megapixel camera and Apple's signature glass and stainless
However, Cook said Verizon iPhone 4 offers one key feature
difference: access to Verizon's Personal Hotspot WiFi node capability,
which connects up to five WiFi-enabled devices.
There is another big difference that may put off some more
discerning consumers. Verizon's iPhone 4 runs on CDMA technology, which
does not allow simultaneous voice and data performance.
For example, users accessing an application who receive a phone call
will find their application interrupted. Some people consider this a
significant tradeoff compared to AT&T's UMTS network-based iPhone
4, which does allow concurrent voice and data access.
Cook acknowledged the disparity between AT&T's UMTS and Verizon CDMA handsets, noting:
"People place emphasis on different things. I can tell you that the
No. 1 question I've gotten despite selling tens of millions of iPhones
and billions of applications is 'When will the iPhone come on VZW's
network?' They will make those sorts of tradeoffs."
Soon, we will see if the market will bear this out. Neither Cook nor
Mead would reveal the companies' unit shipment expectations for the
Verizon iPhone 4. Mead cited the companies "quiet period" for declining
to provide this information.
Analysts such as Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster expects
no fewer than 9 million Verizon iPhone 4s to ship in 2011, though he
acknowledged Jan. 10 that that number could be as high as 15 million.
Gleacher & Co's Brian Marshall expects no fewer than 12 million
One of major unanswered questions during the event was if and when
Apple planned to launch an iPhone geared for Verizon's 4G LTE network,
which the carrier claims is 10 times as fast as its existing 3G network
and cuts data latency in half.
Cook and Mead declined to provide more color to this question, refusing to comment on "announced products."
Another question mark is what this move means for Verizon rival
AT&T, which began taking potshots at Verizon's CDMA network this
week when rumors of the iPhone 4 on Verizon leaked.
Analysts vary in their opinion. Munster expects some cannibalization
of AT&T's iPhone sales -- with Verizon selling 9 million and
AT&T selling 11 million units in 2011. Marshall thinks the damage
could be more than that.