At a small but highly publicized event today in New York, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam announced that Apple’s iPhone will soon be available for Verizon’s 3G network. While Steve Jobs was not present at the event, Tim Cook did appear on stage to talk about the new model:
Tens of millions of customers have purchased the iPhone around the world. Customers have downloaded billions of apps. I am incredibly happy, and I can tell you all of Apple, is very very excited to bring the iPhone to Verizon’s customers.
We’re incredibly pleased to give Verizon’s customers the choice we’ve been waiting for. We’ve designed an iPhone 4 which connects to the CDMA network — and it has all the features that you’d expect. Like FaceTime. Features like Apple’s stunning Retina Display.
5 megapixel camera, HD video… the custom A4 chip. But most importantly, it provides an integrated customer experience that’s far beyond what anyone else is providing. From iOS, to iTunes, to the App Store — they’re all designed to work together.
While the device will not be available in stores until February 10th (existing Verizon customers can pre-order Feb. 3rd), we do know some of the major details already.
Confirming some earlier rumors, the new Verizon iPhone operates exclusively on Verizon’s EV-DO network, dashing hopes that Verizon would try to leapfrog AT&T by moving directly to the LTE network.
Tim Cook commented on the lack of LTE support during the Q&A session after the announcement:
Q: Why didn’t you go the LTE route?
Tim Cook: Two reasons — the first gen LTE chipsets force design changes we wouldn’t make. And Verizon customers told us they want the iPhone now. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been asked ‘when will it work on Verizon.
In a surprise move, Verizon announced that their iPhone 4 model includes the capability to tether up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to the phone for internet access, sometimes referred to as “Mobile Hotspot”. This is a feature that the AT&T iPhone 4 model does not currently have, but which may be added in a future software update. No word yet on pricing for the mobile hotspot feature.
UPDATE: The Mobile Hotspot feature announced today is a feature built into iOS, not an “App”; the Verizon Models are running iOS 4.2.5, so it’s nearly assured that other carriers will get that feature as well once they get an updated build of iOS.
Verizon and Apple representatives also did not comment on pricing for voice+data plans on the new iPhone model.
According to Tim Cook, the Verizon iPhone deal is non-exclusive, which means that it may potentially be available on Sprint at some point in the future as well.
The new model is available for the same pricing as the AT&T model, $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model.