Following unconfirmed reports last week, today Apple made it official: The iPhone is coming to Verizon. In a joint statement, the electronics giant and cell phone carrier announced that starting Thursday, February 10, the coveted handheld will be available on the latter's network. Two versions of the iPhone 4--a $200 16GB model and a $300 32GB model--will initially be offered with a two-year service contract. Both models will be black, with white versions to follow in the coming months.
At a press gathering at Lincoln Center in New York City, Apple COO Tim Cook and Verizon COO Lowell McAdam took the stage to discuss the deal. There, according to GameSpot sibling site CNET, the two confirmed that the Verizon iPhone 4 would use the carrier's CDMA network, not the GSM standard used by AT&T iPhones. As a result, the antenna on the handheld was redesigned, forcing the ringer/mute switch to be moved down slightly--meaning existing iPhone cases and bumpers won't fit.
The Verizon deal means that AT&T's monopoly on the iPhone has finally been broken. The nation's second-largest cell phone carrier had reportedly signed a several-year exclusivity deal with Apple when the iPhone was first released in 2007. According to McAdam, Apple began discussions with Verizon two years ago, when the design process of a CDMA-compatible iPhone began.
In addition to the slightly tweaked form factor, the Verizon iPhone will have one more functionality than its AT&T sibling. The phone will ship with the ability to become a personal Mi-Fi hotspot, allowing up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect to the Internet.