You can stop drooling now, Verizon devotees.
The wildly popular Apple iPhone is now available on what many consider to be the nation’s most reliable network after a three-plus-year exclusive relationship with AT&T.
I’ve been testing the Verizon iPhone for a little more than a day. Here are early impressions and some key features you need to know about.
The two iPhones are all but identical on the outside, but the Verizon version has been rebuilt internally to accommodate the carrier’s different technology. Users will notice just a couple of cosmetic changes: the mute switch has moved down slightly and there is one more black bar in the metal casing around the phone.
Make sure your case fits the Verizon iPhone properly.
Verizon has the same two models as AT&T and at the same prices: $199 for the 16GB iPhone and $299 for the 32GB model with a two-year contract.
The Verizon iPhone can boast a big feature that isn’t on the AT&T version — the ability to turn it into a WiFi hotspot, which worked wonderfully in my early testing.
When you use the WiFi hotspot function, the phone is able to share its 3G Web connection with up to five other WiFi-enabled devices. Having this service will cost Verizon customers $20 a month for sharing 2GB of data.
It’s easy to imagine how great this would be on vacation, especially in the car as the whole family can connect to the phone’s Web access.
Verizon does have one major drawback: Its network is much slower than AT&T’s. In my testing this week, I was often able to approach a data download speed of 5 megabits per second on the AT&T iPhone. Verizon was several times slower, usually managing to cross 1 megabit per second, but not always.
That’s a big consideration for those who regularly browse the Web or watch online videos on their phones.
It would be nice to have the WiFi hotspot feature on the AT&T iPhone to take advantage of those faster data speeds. AT&T spokeswoman Amy Grundman said Friday that the carrier is “working with Apple to bring it to the iPhone.”
The best thing about the Verizon iPhone is that it will run all the same wonderful apps as the AT&T iPhone. Until now, Verizon customers had only been able to use apps on Google’s less-polished Android operating system.
The much-hyped launch of the Verizon iPhone turned out to be a decidedly low-key affair.
Spot checks of stores around metro Detroit on Thursday and Friday revealed few crowds, rare for a launch of such a high-profile Apple product.
At Apple’s flagship San Francisco store, CNet described a scene that had just two people — clearly outnumbered by Apple employees, reporters and police officers — in line Thursday morning for the 7 a.m. launch.
But perhaps that should have been expected. This is, after all, a phone that millions have been using for nearly eight months.
Bottom line, though, is that for simple phone calls, iPhone fans will be better served on the Verizon network.
I have yet to drop a call on the Verizon iPhone, although it’s still a bit early in my testing to declare perfection.
The iPhone 4 is a superb phone and it continues to be in its new digs.