Photo: Illustration by Business Insider
This ends years of exclusivity for AT&T, Verizon’s archrival. And it puts Apple in a much better position to compete with Google, its archrival in the mobile business.
In the meantime, there are more questions than answers — ranging from details about the device and Verizon’s service plans, to the effects the Verizon iPhone will have on the industry.
And the biggest question of all: Buy now, or wait a few months for the next one?
How badly do you need a new phone right now?
There will likely be a Verizon-compatible iPhone 5 available sometime this summer, in late June or early July. It probably won't be THAT much different, but in five months, you might regret that you've recent signed a 2-year contract for a year-old phone.
If you absolutely need a new phone right now, go ahead and buy the Verizon iPhone -- you'll probably love it. If you can wait until the summer, we'd wait.
Not yet. This is a CDMA 3G iPhone, according to all the reports we've seen.
We expect a 4G LTE iPhone in the next year or two. It could either be this summer's new iPhone 5 (or whatever it'll be called), or maybe next year's iPhone 6.
If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, where AT&T is especially bad, and if Verizon can keep up with demand for more mobile data, it seems like the Verizon iPhone could really be better than the AT&T iPhone. This may mean more reliable Internet access and fewer dropped calls.
If you live in the middle of the country, and have good AT&T service, the Verizon iPhone may not be better. Indeed, it may be worse, as AT&T's 3G network can offer faster speeds than Verizon's, under ideal circumstances.
And, the AT&T iPhone may be the only one that can make calls and use the Internet at the same time, if that matters to you. (We'll see if Apple has a fix for that, after referencing it in earlier commercials.)
It's almost 100% certain that the Verizon iPhone will ship in black, the only colour it's been available in at AT&T since last summer.
There is a solid chance that the delayed white iPhone will be available now at Verizon, and soon at all other iPhone carriers. (Apple said late last year that it would arrive in the Spring.)
There is a slight chance that Apple might offer a special colour iPhone 4, such as red (for Valentine's Day?). But don't bet on it.
Verizon will offer an unlimited iPhone data plan as a way to compete with AT&T, the WSJ reported over the weekend. (Currently, AT&T only offers new customers limited data plans, with monthly caps and overage fees.)
But is that the only data plan that Verizon will offer?
It makes sense to consider offering a cheaper, capped data plan to attract more buyers. Verizon offers a 150 MB data plan for $15/month for smartphones, so it makes sense to offer this for the iPhone, too.
Assuming Verizon can get all the technical stuff set up, we anticipate it will offer tethering for $20 per month, the same amount it charges for other smartphones.
Verizon would love that, but no other carrier has been allowed to do that.
So we don't think Verizon will have its logo on the iPhone, not even subtly.
But anything's possible -- maybe that was part of the deal.
Maybe eventually, but probably not right away. One of Verizon's terms with Apple must have been a CDMA exclusive. This could either be for a few months (until the iPhone 5) or maybe for a few years.
It's in Apple's best interest to sell the iPhone at all U.S. carriers, as it would create the most iPhone sales and would compete the strongest with Android and RIM. But Verizon is much more important than Sprint.
Verizon has developed apps for many of its other smartphone platforms, so it makes sense that it would made iPhone apps, including one for its V Cast entertainment service.
While anything is possible, it would be a HUGE surprise if Apple allowed Verizon to pre-load any on the phone, though. Not even AT&T's account management app is allowed to come pre-loaded on the current iPhone.
The Verizon iPhone will probably cost the same as the AT&T iPhone 4: $199 for a 16 GB device and $299 for a 32 GB device, each with a 2-year contract.
Verizon says it's ready for it, and is confident that it'll offer unlimited-use data plans to prove it, the WSJ reported.
And it has already had to deal with high-bandwidth devices like the Droid smartphones for more than a year. And it already has a 4G LTE network to move many of its customers over to as they get new phones.
But AT&T probably thought it was prepared for the iPhone 3G, too. And then it got smoked.
So we'll see.
There's a good chance this will be a 'World' phone with a micro-SIM slot.
But the SIM slot probably won't be unlocked -- it will likely come pre-filled with a Verizon SIM card, for which it has established overpriced roaming agreements around the world.
Probably not. We don't expect this to happen until the iPhone 5. It's not like anyone talks about the antenna issues anymore, anyway.
(And, who knows, maybe it's not as bad with CDMA and Verizon's network. Or maybe it's worse!)
It's hard for a lot of people to switch carriers, because of long-term contracts with expensive break-up fees, family plans, and exclusive corporate contracts.
But we expect that several hundred thousand -- and maybe several million -- AT&T subscribers will move over to Verizon, especially if Verizon iPhone owners report superior service.
Google's mobile OS will still have plenty of buyers, as it's available on all major U.S. carriers, and comes at a variety of prices, in a variety of designs. But Verizon has been more important to Android's rise than many people believe.
If Verizon puts a lot of marketing muscle behind the iPhone, Android will likely suffer. Google could lose market share to Apple the next few quarters, though it's possible both platforms will steal enough share from RIM that it won't make much of a difference.
All Things D reported last week that Steve Jobs was likely to appear at the Verizon iPhone press conference on Tuesday.
This seems possible -- it's a big deal for Apple. But we wouldn't be surprised if only one of Jobs' lieutenants made an appearance, such as marketing boss Phil Schiller, or COO Tim Cook.
Almost certainly. We expect Verizon to quickly sell a million of these things. That will result in lines at Apple Stores, Verizon stores, and wherever they're sold.
Will Apple and Verizon also announce a CDMA iPad this week? Or will that be the iPad 2 later this year?
Not likely just yet. Wait for the iPad 2, which may even support Verizon's new 4G LTE network. (Though that might not happen until the iPad 3.)
AT&T is definitely a loser here. This was, of course, inevitable -- and this was a very long, very good exclusive deal for AT&T. And with 90 million subscribers, it's not going anywhere.
It now stands to lose many iPhone customers to Verizon and acquire fewer new iPhone subscribers than it did before. But perhaps this will actually take some strain off AT&T's network, meaning better service for remaining subscribers.
And maybe it will be able to negotiate better terms with Apple -- perhaps slightly smaller subsidies? -- now that it's not exclusive anymore.
One thing we'll be watching: Which smartphone platform(s) AT&T puts more muscle behind now. Will it continue to promote Windows Phone 7? Will it finally make a bigger push behind Android?
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.