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The Verizon iPhone

UPDATE: Some people have taken offense to my post. They took issue to the term "fanboy", as if I was calling each person who own an iPhone a fanboy, and if somehow that term is derogatory. If you interpreted the post in this manner, and got offended, I apologize. What I'm trying to communicate, is that the bulk of Verizon's sales of iPhones will come mostly from people who purchase everything Mac every time Apple releases a new product. They are FANS of the product. They eat, drink and sleep Apple. These people are commonly referred to as "fanboys". It doesn't mean they're uneducated. It doesn't mean they're not as worthy as non-fanboys. They're just big fans of a monoculture. That's all. Outside of that surge, the small minority will be the curious who are out of contract, or those upgrading from feature phones. It will likely sell millions. It just has a lot of catching up to do with 600% Android growth over 2010. Don't take offense. It wasn't the intent of the post.

UPDATE 2: For a better written post on my feelings about today's event, head over to PCMag and read the article by Sascha Sagen. My feelings exactly. The iPhone is a good phone (it's not crap, it's just not 5-star), it just isn't the savior of mankind, now that it's on an GSM network.

I want to get a head start on this, before the blogoshpere goes bananas with "OMG!" and "I told you so". In case you've been living under a rock, there have been rumors floating all around the Internet that the Apple iPhone will launch on the Verizon network, effectively losing the carrier vendor lockin with AT&T in the United States. People have weighed in on every side of the issue. And now, it's my turn.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:00 am (1/11/11 11:00), Verizon is holding a press event in New York, NY to make a big announcement. They haven't given any details as to what the event is about. Why would Verizon hold such an event after practically taking center stage at CES? The only reason is that it is announcing the iPhone on its network. This makes sense for two reasons:

  1. Apple isn't releasing a new product, like the rumored "iPhone 5", so it's not an Apple event. Otherwise, it would be held in San Francisco, CA.
  2. Apple has never attended CES, but instead, has always had its own press events held on its own terms. Preventing the announcement at CES is on par for the company.

So, want my take on the announcement? Big deal. Here's why:

Unfortunately for Apple, they won't be announcing any new hardware. It's the same iPhone 4 that is on AT&T's network. I highly doubt there will be a single specification change. Why should anyone purchase the same hardware, when there are much more capable phones out now, and coming out on a variety of carriers, including Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG and others?

People jumped onto the iPhone bandwagon when it was announced on AT&T for two reasons: Apple fanboys and superior hardware. People getting an iPhone on the Verizon network will be: Apple fanboys.

I've heard the argument that people on the AT&T network would jump ship in a massive exodus to Verizon, given AT&T's struggle to keep a reliable network up. But, I don't buy it, because many of them are in contract and people aren't going to replace their existing iPhone 4, just to switch over (although some iPhone 3 users might for the upgrade). Is the Tuesday event going to make a splash? Sure, but in the "I told you so category". People will purchase the phone, and others will switch. But I'm not expecting a massive rush "just because". Even if Verizon offers some sort of coupon or discount for only current AT&T subscribers.

Further, rumors surround the Internet that Apple is expecting to push "iPhone 5", as well as the "iPad 2", but they wouldn't announce that at a Verizon event. It would be at an Apple event, as already mentioned, because of the new hardware. So, why would people get the iPhone 4, when it's successor is just around the corner, unless it's substantially cheaper?

There's far too much momentum behind Google's Android. If you kept an eye on CES, every network announced several Android devices, all over the hardware specification spectrum, and everyone except AT&T already has a serious Android lineup. Networks want more and more hardware choices for their consumers, and more and more hardware companies want Android. HTC and Motorola have invested heavily. This event will boost Apple shares for a week or two, and that's about the extent I'm willing to take it. There is just too much momentum behind Android right now.

Lastly, a lot of the "I want an iPhone, but I'll wait for it to come to [insert my favorite network here]" people have moved on. That ship has long sailed. I personally know of 3 people who waited for iPhone to come to Verizon, but the HTC Incredible and the Motorola Droid ended up being the better purchase, all of which absolutely love their phones. They're not the only ones. I've been reading it on the Internet for the past couple of years. Apple, you're just too late to the game; you waited too long for too many.

So, I'm not buying it; literally. I have the HTC Evo 4G, and it's head and shoulders over the iPhone 4. It's no contest, and it's already outdated hardware. Google brought me in. When it's time to upgrade, I'll be looking for another Android superphone to replace my Evo.

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