Hands-On: Verizon Wireless iPhone
Verizon Wireless and Apple today announced a CDMA version of the iPhone 4. It is identical to the GSM/AT&T version save for a few small differences. Here's what they are.
The iPhone 4 that Apple has made for Verizon Wireless is nearly indistinguishable from the original iPhone 4. The dimensions are the same. The weight is the same. The glass-and-metal feel is the same. The user interface of iOS 4.2 is the same. Only the keenest eye can tell them apart, at least in terms of the physical design.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
The only differences visible are the antenna bands wrapped around the side of the iPhone 4 (see photos). There is an extra black band in two different spots on the Verizon iPhone when compared to the AT&T iPhone. Also, the Verizon iPhone lacks a SIM card slot. Apple has also slightly repositioned the volume on/off switch. It has been moved down a few millimeters. This could cause problems with third-party iPhone cases, though otherwise it doesn't interact functionality.
The speed of the OS was the same as the iPhone 4. The Verizon iPhone runs iOS 4.2.5. Apple didn't explain why the Verizon runs a different version of iOS, but it likely has something to do with Verizon's network. The only noticeable difference in the software was the addition of Verizon's Mobile Hotspot feature (see screen shots). This software lets you activate a 3G data connection and then share it via Wi-Fi with up to five other Wi-Fi equipped devices. This feature is likely to cost above and beyond the normal data plan cost. You can also see the Verizon logo and signal indicators in the top info bar of the screen.
The Verizon iPhone 4 won't have the same simultaneous voice-and-data capabilities that the AT&T version has, which is a condition of the CDMA versus GSM network. This isn't something that Apple left out on purpose, and there's nothing Apple can do about it.
The iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless lacks a world radio, capable of roaming on networks overseas (at least in Europe and most of Asia). Apple said it believed getting the iPhone to Verizon customers *now* outweighed some of the usability and feature considerations. That's also why the Verizon iPhone 4 lacks LTE 4G. Apple said it would have been forced to make some design changes that it was prepared to make. Most likely, adding LTE would have required a larger device to accommodate the LTE antenna and larger battery.
I breezed through the basic user interface, opened several apps, and interact with them. I didn't notice any speed problems in terms of the processor.
Apps/services that were network dependent all worked without flaw in the packed room. I tested two of the units on hand and didn't encounter and network slow-downs. PhoneScoop.com loaded with no problems.
That's about it. Apple did a good job of matching AT&T's iPhone 4 exactly.
Here's a video tour:
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