After years of rumors, there finally really is a version of the iPhone that runs on Verizon Wireless's network. Verizon announced today that the iPhone 4 will be available begining Feb. 10. In most respects, it's the same iPhone 4 that AT&T has sold since last summer. But there are some differences in the phone as well as in the Verizon network and capabilities.
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Q: What networks does the Verizon iPhone 4 run on?
A: Verizon's CDMA 3G network. It will not take advantage of the faster LTE 4G networks that Verizon has begun rolling out. It also will not work on the GSM networks used in most other countries, so it cannot function as a "world phone."
Q: What models will Verizon offer?
A: It will sell the 16GB iPhone 4 for $199 (with a two-year contract) and the 32GB iPhone 4 for $299 (also with a two-year contract).
Q: Can I use my move my existing iPhone 4 to Verizon?
A: No. The devices use different radios, so to switch from AT&T to Verizon means getting a new iPhone. Likewise, if you're visiting the U.S. from another country and have an existing iPhone, you can only use AT&T (if you get an AT&T SIM) as your carrier while visiting. Through iTunes, you can transfer all your existing AT&T iPhone's music, vdeos, and apps to a Verizon iPhone.
Q: Will current iPhone 4 peripherals work with the Verizon model?
A: Most will, but some cases may not fit the Verizon iPhone. That's because the metal sides of the iPhone are its antenna, and Apple made some changes to the antenna to accommodate the CDMA network's radio characteristics. In doing so, the ringer switch was moved up a tad on the Verizon iPhone, so cutouts for it in existing cases and skins are likely to at least partially cover the switch. That appears to be the only physical design change in the Verizon iPhone 4, but until actual models are available for testing, other peripherals -- particularly cases and skins -- can't be guaranteed to fit properly. Headphones, docks, and other devices that use the iPhone ports (as well as those that connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) should be unaffected, though.
Q: Can I use the phone and data services simultaneously on a Verizon iPhone?
A: No. The CDMA technology used by Verizon allows only one service -- data or voice -- to be active. There are technologies that allow CDMA networks to allow simultaneous voice and data usage, but Verizon has not deployed them.
Q: Does the Verizon iPhone 4 do anything an AT&T one does not?
A: Yes.The Verizon iPhone 4 comes with a HotSpot app that lets the iPhone act as a Wi-Fi hot spot, so as many as five other devices can access the 3G network through it. However, it's unknown whether this tethering capability will require an extra cost to be used.