Earlier today Verizon did what has been rumored for a while now and announced a partnership with Apple beginning with the CDMA iPhone 4.

Device pricing remains unchanged from the AT&T iPhone 4. The 16GB model retails for $199.99 while the 32GB will set you back $299.99. There is no white version available.

 
Hardware specs, both internal and external, remain unchanged. Apple is also quoting the same battery life as the AT&T version of the iPhone 4, although battery life is very dependent on signal strength so it will vary depending on network coverage where you use the phone. 
 
Verizon isn't talking about data plan pricing and specifics at this point, although I suspect we'll find that out closer to the February 10th release date. Existing Verizon customers will be able to pre-order online beginning February 3rd, while the floodgates will open for everyone else on the 10th. Verizon insists that it has prepared both its retail presence and network for the launch, what that means for availability and likelihood of you getting a device remains to be seen. The good news is the iPhone 4 is a mature device that shouldn't be production limited. The launch will mostly be a question of whether Apple/Verizon appropriately estimated the number of customers they'll have on day 1. 
 
 
Verizon will offer a personal hotspot option for its iPhone 4, a feature that isn't available on AT&T. Apple wouldn't say if there are other architectural changes required for it, There aren't any architectural changes to enable personal hotspot, it's just something that Verizon supports and AT&T doesn't. Verizon isn't talking about pricing for enabling personal hotspot but functionally it works very similarly to tethering on the AT&T iPhone. You enable personal hotspot which you can use over Bluetooth or USB. If you have WiFi enabled you can connect up to 5 devices via WiFi to the Verizon iPhone 4.
 

Receive Antenna Diversity - The New Strip

 
I've got some more detail on the difference in antenna design on this new iPhone. As you can see from the pictures below, the good ol' death grip still attenuates signal strength on Verizon. Held normally I was getting a reading of -65 dBm on the Verizon iPhone, but in full on death grip the signal strength dropped to -83 dBm. That's in line with what we've seen on AT&T. 
 


Verizon iPhone 4 - Held "properly"


V
erizon iPhone 4  - "Deathgrip"

You will notice that there are more external antenna segments on the Verizon iPhone compared to the AT&T model. Specifically, there's a new strip at the very top of the phone that previously was a part of the UMTS/GSM antenna. With the Verizon iPhone 4 that strip is actually for a secondary receive antenna. This dual-receive antenna architecture is something that Verizon refers to as antenna diversity and it's a part of Verizon's spec for devices on its network. This is not something that's present on the GSM version of the iPhone 4. 


A
T&T iPhone 4 (left) vs. Verizon iPhone 4 (right) - Note the new antenna segment on the top

 


A
T&T iPhone 4 (left) vs. Verizon iPhone 4 (right) - Note the new strip, that separates the secondary receive antenna

It's too early to tell if receive antenna diversity will mitigate the hand holding problems that drop calls in low signal scenarios. We will have to do extensive testing before we can figure that part out.
 

Network Performance

 
As far as network performance goes, AT&T's signal is strong but performance isn't very good at the Lincoln Center where Verizon held today's press event. To showcase network performance we have a couple of options. First up is a web page load test. I loaded three pages: AnandTech.com, our Dirk Meyer article and the CPU section on the site. The video below shows the latter two in action (AT&T on the left, Verizon on the right):

Again I have to mention that AT&T's performance at the Lincoln Center in NYC is pretty bad, definitely worse than it is at my office in Raleigh, NC. This is ultimately what will determine whether you go with the Verizon or AT&T versions of the iPhone 4 - what the network coverage looks like in your area.
 
Apple didn't have any installations of the Speedtest app, so we had to resort to using testmy.net. I ran three times on both the upload and download, I've reported the results below:
 
Verizon iPhone 4 Network Performance at Lincoln Center in NYC
Direction Downstream Upstream
Average 1888 kbps 321 kbps
Max/Min 2238/1483 kbps 368/256 kbps

Download speed is suspiciously good. At 2.2Mbps it's higher than I have seen AT&T's iPhone 4 hit anywhere in NYC and the highest download speed I've ever seen for a device on Verizon that I've tested. Verizon likely has a local femtocell here to guarantee the best performance possible. 

Upload speed is significantly worse however at only 321Kb/s on average. This is pretty typical for EVDO devices.
 
We'll have to wait until we get devices in hand before we can truly characterize network performance on the new Verizon iPhone 4. The numbers above are only a small snapshot of behavior.
 
As I mentioned in our earlier coverage, you can't use data and voice at the same time on the Verizon iPhone 4 (unless the data is over WiFi). If you are in the middle of a call and try to load a web page you'll get an error telling you that data is not available.

 
You'll notice that the 3G marker goes away during a call as well (because the call doesn't technically use the 3G radio). It doesn't disappear when you're sending an SMS however.
 
And there you have it. We'll be publishing a full review as soon as we can get our hands on a sample.
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  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    The 4G radio hardware is in the device, however... Just no AT&T 4G coverage means no 4G enabled. Reply
  • Yuniverse - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    you're right. Not for everyone.

    But certainly for me, iPhone is the one! : )
    Reply
  • Hargak - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Funny, they fixed the attenuation issue only with another carrier. I wonder what went into that. (was probably a major deal) Also, I have used every IPhone series and eventially tried a droid.. Simply put, it doesn't seem that it's possible for one company to keep up with sooo many other hardware manufacturers. They will always be one upping the last guy to come out with something new. This leaves Apple in the dust. It's like Pretend Dell has their own software and hardware, and all the rest is modular and inter-operable. The Galaxy S bows it away as do soo many others already. Can they make it thinner? prolly. Sexier? um if that counts.. maybe. will all the rest have something out the day after that's faster, cheaper, and works with all other carriers.. including exclusive ATT? Definitely.

    ...Macintosh versus PC.
    Reply
  • synaesthetic - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, Samsung screwed the Galaxy S line with poor software support. Officially, all but the i9000 are stuck on Eclair, and Gingerbread is already released!

    But the Nexus S is out now, and Samsung will be launching more Galaxy S devices later this year with GIngerbread...

    And my Vibrant will probably never see Android 2.3, except perhaps through the good graces of xda-developers.

    This seems to be a trend for non HTC devices... instead of updating, they just release new phones, making you buy a new one to get the newer OS version. *facepalm*
    Reply
  • kingkongqueror - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Rogers just very recently released Froyo 2.2 for Samsung Galaxy S Captivate and I am looking to try to update my Captivate later tonight. Hoping for Gingerbread this summer. Reply
  • alovell83 - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    2M customers in Korea also have 2.2 on the SHW-m110s. It's really about 3M customers in the U.S. who are "screwed" and when you think about it, U.S. carriers are the ones that are testing these things, also they are the ones that asked for some hardware modifications (keyboard, no FF camera, etc), so I think people need to blame Samsung a little bit less. Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    I just remembered the other thing that I keep being reminded in the reviews: replaceable battery. Not that it's a huge deal, but when you're traveling, it might be nice to have the option. Reply
  • Yuniverse - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    It's a nice option to be sure.

    However, I've never changed my batteries 10 years i've used cell phones even though i had spares. I just usually had ways to charge it. in the car and at home/office.

    Same thing with my iphone. I just charge it at night and it's good to go for the day.
    Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Monday, January 17, 2011 - link

    "I just charge it at night and it's good to go for the day. "

    No kidding. The point is when you've used up the battery and need more time out of the device immediately.
    Reply
  • shonh - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    I'm a Verizon customer, a Samsung Fascinate, and iPod Touch owner, so I think I can fairly compare the iPhone to Android. First, I know some people will disagree with me, but I don't think we would have android without the iPhone. Now that doesn't mean that one is better than the other - and I think choice is good. I do like my android-based phone. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and does it well. I'm not going to run out and buy a new Verizon iPhone. However, if I were out of contract, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the iPhone. Why?

    To me, the iOS interface just makes sense. Many android phone makers try to skin their phones to look like iOS. Why? it looks nice and does what it is supposed to well. Android does offer a lot of customization and hackability, but, for many people, that just adds to the confusion. One annoyance on Android, is that you have to hit the menu button to get options - which can be tedious at times (that and for whatever reason handset makers keep changing the order of these buttons). Plus, and this is a big one - the iPhone apps are often much better. This will most likely change over time, but it is true right now.

    This isn't about good vs. bad. To me a phone is a tool. I want a phone that makes sense and is easy to use. I think that there are some great android phones out there, which is why I bought one when I did. But, for me, the iPhone just does things a little better right now. That may change by the time I'm ready to re-up my contract. Time will tell.
    Reply

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