It's official - the longest running rumor in the technology industry was finally settled today as Verizon Wireless announced their new partnership with Apple to bring the company's iPhone 4 to Verizon's CDMA network. The phone will become available starting February 10 at Verizon Wireless stores, Apple stores and online. As of right now, there appears to be no third-party sales of the device. Sorry, Best Buy.
There are a number of positives and negatives here. First of all, Verizon's 3G CDMA network has never been known for its data stability, so adding iPhones to the network could very well bring it to its knees. Also, 3G CDMA is incapable of making calls while accessing data, so many of the features that Apple has made a big deal about for years will not work on Verizon, such as talking to Bob while you find the address to a restaurant on Google.
For more on the iPhone announcement and what it means for you, hit the break.
The biggest question on people's minds is, "Why is this phone not running on Verizon's new LTE network?" The answer is simple: Apple didn't want to. According to sources at Verizon, the change to LTE would have required design compromises that Apple wasn't willing to make. That means the board would have had to have been redesigned to accommodate the new chipset and it wasn't worth it to them being this near the end of the iPhone 4's life. I would imagine the iPhone 5, when it is announced, will run on the LTE Network for Verizon.
If you are an existing Verizon customer and are not currently eligible for an upgrade, you will not be able to get the device for the discounted price, unlike the launch of the iPhone 4 on AT&T where almost all customers were given the ability to upgrade launch month. If you want one, you will get to pay full retail price, so start saving your pennies.
On the positive side, this means that Apple is now making a CDMA version of the handset - the first of its kind - which means we could see it come over to Sprint in the future, or launch on any of the CDMA network across Asia. This may not mean anything for Verizon, but it is a big deal for Apple.
Despite all of the hype surrounding this announcement in the tech world, the business world didn't seem pleased by this decision. Verizon and Apple shares both fell this morning following the announcement. Verizon has a live 4th quarter earnings call planned for January 25, where they are expected to try and explain to investors why a loss of over $1 billion in subsidies in 2011 is a good thing.