Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Verizon Got Its iPhone, but Its Imprint on Device Is Small

Verizon Wireless got what it wanted most from Apple–the ability to sell an iPhone running on its network.

Beginning on Feb. 10, customers will be able to walk into an Apple or Verizon retail store, or go online, and purchase an iPhone 4 that works on the carrier’s CDMA network, fulfilling a long-held dream of both the Basking Ridge, NJ company and many of its customers.

But if Verizon had hopes of putting its own stamp on the product, all it takes is a close look to see that didn’t happen.

The Verizon logo isn’t on the device’s case nor will its logo appear at startup–something common on most phones that don’t start with the letter “i.” And while Verizon has a couple of its own iPhone applications, it won’t be able to bundle them on the phone as it can on other devices. Rather, customers will have to opt to download them from the App Store.

Indeed, the only way to look at the device and tell it is running on Verizon’s network is a small indication on the upper left hand corner of the home screen that bears the name of the network the device is running on. (Incidentally, that can change if one is roaming on another carrier’s network, such as if you take the device to another supported country.)

To be fair, AT&T has no greater mark on the iPhone, although it did have the U.S. exclusive on the device for the past many years.

The biggest thing Verizon managed to secure, aside from the iPhone itself, was to get Apple to build-in support for using the iPhone as a mobile hotspot–a significant feature not found on the AT&T version. And Apple did have to do a fair amount of work to support the feature, according to Senior Vice President Phil Schiller.

“A big part of it is the software, I’d say the biggest part,” Schiller told Mobilized in an interview on Tuesday. “It uses the hardware in different ways.”

Aside from that difference, the two carriers largely are competing on the strengths and weaknesses of their respective networks. AT&T was quick to tout the fact it can make calls and access data at the same time as well as the global nature of its phone which works on GSM networks used in most parts of the world (as long as one is willing to pay stiff international fees). Verizon, meanwhile, looks to capitalize on widely expressed frustration with dropped calls and other issues with the AT&T iPhone.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post