After more than four years, AT&T’s exclusivity on iPhone in the U.S. has come to an end; the iPhone 4 is coming to Verizon on February 10th. Some questions remain unanswered: Will the antenna issues that plagued the iPhone 4's AT&T launch last summer also be a problem on Verizon's network? Will the differences in the AT&T and Verizon networks mean differences for iPhone users? Based on all the news reports and first look reviews today, here is what we know so far about the iPhone on Verizon.
In terms of hardware, Verizon will have almost the exact same device. The major difference is the CDMA chips inside the Verizon iPhone that will allow it to run on Verizon's network. On the outside, the most eagle-eyed observers will notice that the Verizon iPhone 4's ringer/mute switch on the top left side has been moved slightly downward. Apple says it was done to accommodate the CDMA chips on the inside, and consequently iPhone 4 cases and bumpers currently on the market will not fit correctly.
The Verizon iPhone's software is slightly more advanced too: it's running iOS 4.2.5, while the most current release for all other iPhones is iOS 4.2.1.
In terms of wireless service, CDMA technology currently does not allow voice and data to be sent over the network simultaneously, which means you can't, for example, make a phone call while checking e-mail or using the maps app. The CDMA Development Group has said this will change for all CDMA operators sometime this spring.
One feature Verizon will offer that AT&T does not, though, is the ability to use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi hot spot. Verizon says up to five Wi-Fi devices can connect to the iPhone's Internet connection at the same time.