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Hands-On: Verizon Wireless iPhone

Article Comments  29  

Jan 11, 2011, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.

Verizon iPhone  

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:

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Jan 12, 2011, 4:42 AM

Too Little - Too Late

A year ago (when I had a BB curve) I was patiently hoping and awaiting the day that Apple would release the iPhone to Verizon. Mid summer when I was due for a free upgrade, I bought the Droid X. I have since fell in love with the android platform and would not leave my Droid even if Verizon was giving away the iPhone for free. Apple waited to late to release the iPhone to Verizon because the majority of potential Verizon customers have already discovered android.

Jan 11, 2011, 1:38 PM

People are easily influenced

I'll preface this by saying that I am in no way knocking the Iphone or saying it is inferior. It is a great device. However:

I notice that many people I talk to are excited about the Iphone. But when I ask them why they like the Iphone, they cant tell me anything. They cant name specific features or anything about the phone that appealed to them. It seems that many (and not all, of course) people want the Iphone, because they are told they want the Iphone. They dont know why they really want the phone. I attribute that to good marketing from Apple. But it is sad. Many have waited to get this phone, when they could have had other devices a lot earlier, that do the features they are most interested in. It is sad how we freque...
So you thought companies paid advertisers all those dollars for nothing? Of course marketing works.
yourvoiceofreason said:

But when I ask them why they like the Iphone, they cant tell me anything.

Then they're dumb. Because the iPhone is incredibly intuitive, offers crazy customization & has the best sc...

Jan 11, 2011, 1:27 PM

The iPhone is so 2007

An outdated phone on an oudated network. That still wont stop the sheep though honestly. Well at least AT&T's network might get some relief. But Verizon's network is going to hell. People can barely get a little over 1mbps in overpopulated metro areas like NYC with Verizon EVDO, imagine when the iPhones start activating, forget about it! Oh well, I'm enjoying my MyTouch 4G and 6-7mbps down with 60-80ms ping times 😁
Hehe yeah, I don't think AT&T looks at this as a "relief", they're probably tossing and turning in cold sweats over this.
Umm...technically VZW is not outdated. Since the device does not support VZW's NEW network, that makes the device outdated, not the carrier.

Jan 11, 2011, 12:17 PM

Great News!

199.99 for a 2 year contract. 😉
Less $100 for my renew every 2 and another $100 for ordering it online = FREE


Jan 11, 2011, 12:43 PM


😢 So Verizon gets a second-hand copy of the iPhone with a lesser feature set just so taht they can grab a market segment fast.

If they HAD learned from past experience, they would realize that the features are what makes it a more attractive option. I would rather have waited a bit longer and gotten an LTE Verizon iPhone. Guess I will be sticking with my Droid til Apple gets their "stuff" together.
What other features is it lacking from the AT&T version besides simaltaneous data and voice? Notice Verizon also adds the hotspot feature to it? I'd take that over data/voice any day.

All I know is... nice knowing you AT&T, this is going to hit the...

Jan 11, 2011, 12:26 PM

Still no flash support?

Droid does.
exactly. I'm keeping my droid x to something better comes along. 😈
A phone than can get Trojan viruses?

Droid does 😛

Jan 11, 2011, 12:17 PM

I'm having me one

that's all there is to it! 😎 so it looks like it's safe to go order my otterbox case for it now!
Make sure you get the case that specifically states it is for the Verizon iPhone. The key on the side below the volume keys looks a little different between the two models.
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