The Blade's blog Culture Shock is a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.
For months -- years, actually -- I've been waiting for Apple and Verizon to make nice and port the iPhone to the nation's largest cell phone carrier. During that time I've demoed several Android OS phones, like HTC's Droid Incredible and Motorola's Droid X.
I've even tried a Blackberry Torch through AT&T.
But always -- for reasons I can never really articulate -- I've wanted an iPhone. My failure to commit to a new phone has been driving everyone around me crazy, but I refused to give up on what has amounted to a quest. And, when I was weak in my resolve and thought about caving in, in early November I was tipped off by someone in the know that it was happening, that the iPhone for Verizon did exist. So I dug my heels deeper into the dirt and refused to budge another inch toward a Droid phone.
After all of that, the announcement was made Tuesday at about 11:09 a.m. that the iPhone 4 would be on Verizon. So why do I feel kinda deflated about it?
I'm sure it was all the build up to, what essentially is, the same phone on AT&T, only modified to run on Verizon's CDMA network. Oh, the iPhone on Verizon will act as a 3G WiFi hotspot for up to 5 devices. AT&T's version does not do this. Then again, AT&T's iPhone can handle voice and data at the same time. The Verizon iPhone can't. So, if you've got five devices using the phone's WiFi hotspot and a call comes in, well, those five devices are disconnected.
Expect to see AT&T getting snarky about that.
Meanwhile, Verizon at this year's International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, touted its speedy new network, LTE.
When asked why the Verizon iPhone 4 doesn't have LTE capability, Tim Cook, COO of Apple, who was at the announcement in lieu of Steve Jobs, said adjusting to the LTE network would have required "design changes" in the phone that Apple didn't want to make. Plus, so many people wanted the iPhone on Verizon, Apple didn't want to delay the iPhone's availability any longer.
"I can't tell you the number of times we've been asked when will it work on Verizon," Cook was quoted as saying via MacLife's Web site, one of the many blogs reporting live from the press conference.
Otherwise, this is more or less AT&T's iPhone. So now everyone who complained about AT&T's poor network coverage and dropped calls, can move to Verizon where data and voice are not an option -- for now, at least.
Expect the iPhone 5 announcement this June for AT&T and Verizon. Expect the Verizon iPhone 5 to be LTE compatible. Apple won't want to fall too far behind the new network standard speed. There will be much excitement by the press, Wall Street, and consumers. And deservedly so. Apple makes the best phones. Period.
As it stands, those who buy an iPhone 4 now will be stuck with the same two-year commitment to the iPhone 4 until they're eligible for an upgrade. Perhaps, that will change, but don't count on it.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 will be available to existing Verizon customers first, who can pre-order the device Feb. 3. Everyone else can buy one on Feb. 10. The price is the same as AT&T: $199 for 16GB, and $299 for 32GB -- each phone comes with a two-year contract.
So, will I be buying one now or waiting? I simply can't stomach holding out any longer, so I'm in. I was hoping for something more from Apple today, but deep down I knew that wasn't going to happen. That's why Verizon made the announcement and NOT Apple. That's why Tim Cook was there and not Steve Jobs.
The big announcement was today, but the announcement that's likely to sway more buyers is coming in five months. After three years of holding my breath, that's just too long.
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