I know, I know, we’re the Best App Site. We’re supposed to review the best Apps, but when something this big happens in the iPhone world sometimes we have to deviate from the standard topics. The big news today is coming from Verizon and Apple; the long awaited Verizon iPhone. There have been so many rumors swirling for so many years about this device that many have deemed it a mythical creature akin to the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot, but today it’s reality. I’ve talked to many, many current iPhone users that have thought about, or are thinking about switching (myself included). Before you run out and pay an early termination fee, and the cost of a brand spanking new phone that is (most likely) exactly the same as the iPhone4 that you’re currently holding in your hand, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
We might as well start right there. After all, the BIGGEST complaint coming from iPhone users has always been the coverage and dropped calls. From day one people have been complaining that they can’t get service in certain areas, that they frequently drop calls, and that 3g service is sketchy at best outside of major metropolitan areas. All of these are perfectly legitimate claims, some of which I have actually experienced myself. The question is will the Verizon iPhone fix these issues? I have to think yes, for most people. In Cincinnati where I live, the Verizon network is king. For years I had Verizon smartphones and I can count on one hand the amount of times I dropped a call. From talking to other people around the country, this seems to be the case for most every Verizon user. Will the network be able to handle the surge of new users that have been waiting for this device? I think so. About a year ago I had long conversation with a network engineer for Verizon that revealed to me that Verizon was well aware of the (likely) influx of large amounts of data hungry users when the iPhone hit. They have (at least in this area and I suspect other areas as well) teams of technicians who’s only job is to travel around the coverage area identifying slow speeds and fixing the problems. He went on to explain to me that they were constantly measuring 3g speeds as they were driving, and when they found an area that has either slow speeds, or low bandwidth the closest towers were identified and upgraded. All of that to say this, if there are any issues with the speed or quality of coverage I think that Verizon will be quick to identify and resolve the problem.
CDMA VS GSM
Many people don’t know the difference between CDMA and GSM. Without getting technical, the basic difference is that with GSM (AT&T) you can talk on the phone while you’re using data at the same time, and with CDMA (Verizon) you can’t. Why does this matter? Most people don’t think that they’ll ever want to use data and talk at the same time. I understand that thought process. I thought the same thing before I had my iPhone. That was before I heavily used Pandora (a free internet radio application) in the car. That was also before I realized that I could be surfing the net, reading the news, or looking something up all while on my Bluetooth headset talking to someone. Could I live without it? Sure, if I had to, but I don’t want to.
What about LTE?
LTE or Long-Term Evolution connectivity is Verizon’s version of 4g. With theoretical speeds well above those of the current 3g phones, and with Verizon’s LTE network almost completely implemented it’s just a matter of time before a LTE/4g iPhone is introduced. With the current iPhone4 (both Verizon and AT&T) being restricted to 3g, do you or I really want to lock into a 2 year contract just to have the iPhone5 come out in a few months that is capable of the much faster speeds? I guess that depends. If you are like me and you use your iPhone as a wireless hotspot (via MyWi) or if you tether you might want to consider waiting. The difference between 3g and 4g (LTE) is significant. On the other hand, like I said to Terry yesterday, if you are always holding off because the “next best thing” is just around the corner, you’ll never get to enjoy anything. Sometimes you just have to enjoy what’s there now and not think about what’s coming in the future. There will always be something better at some point down the road.
The good news is that no matter which service you go with, Verizon or AT&T, the Apps are universal, and you know the best place to go to find the top reviews of the best Apps; the Best App Site .
When I bought my iPhone4 I wasn’t currently an AT&T customer, I made the switch from Verizon. Because of that, I was stuck with the $25 for 2GB of Data plan. Again I may use more than the average user since I frequently run my iPad and laptop off of the MyWi hotspot App, but I almost always go over my 2GB limit. I’m guessing that with Apps like Netflix allowing you to stream video, or Skype allowing video calls (both over 3g) I’m not the only one exceeding this limit. In comes Verizon’s $30 a month unlimited plan. For $5 above what I’m paying (before I go over and have to pay an extra $10 per GB) now I can have unlimited data. Sign me up! I hope that this prompts AT&T to follow suit and return to the unlimited data plans.
What am I going to do?
For me it comes down to economics. I upgraded to the iPhone4 and thus signed a new two year contract. I am currently 5 ½ months into that contract which means that I would have to pay a healthy early termination fee if I decided to jump ship today. If Verizon had announced a LTE/4G iPhone today, I would have already jumped. Since they didn’t I am going to stick with AT&T until Verizon releases the iPhone5/LTE version. When they do, I will most likely switch then. I don’t want to pay my early termination fee to AT&T today, lock into a 2 year deal with the current 3g iPhone on Verizon, and in 6 months have to shell out the entire cost of a new phone (since that would be too early for Verizon to offer an upgrade option)to have the LTE model. My current service isn’t terrible. Sure I drop a call every now and then, but overall I’m satisfied.
It looks like Verizon is including a "Mobile Hotspot" for up to 5 devices on their iPhone 4's.
$199 for the 16GB Model and $299 for the 32GB Model with shipping in Early February.