Everything You Need to Know About the Verizon iPhone

It feels like we've been talking and writing about the potential of Verizon selling an iPhone forever. And now that it's finally here we know you have questions. Here's everything we know so far about the iPhone 4 from Verizon's press conference this morning.

Add any other burning questions you have in the comments below.

How is Verizon's iPhone 4 different from AT&T's?
In terms of hardware, Verizon will have almost the exact same device. The major difference is the CDMA chips inside the Verizon iPhone that will allow it to run on Verizon's network. On the outside, the most eagle-eyed observers will notice that the Verizon iPhone 4's ringer/mute switch on the top left side has been moved slightly downward. Apple says it was done to accommodate the CDMA chips on the inside, and consequently iPhone 4 cases and bumpers currently on the market will not fit correctly.

In terms of wireless service, CDMA technology currently does not allow voice and data to be sent over the network simultaneously, which means you can't, for example, make a phone call while checking e-mail or using the maps app. The CDMA Development Group has said this will change for all CDMA operators sometime this spring.

One feature Verizon will offer that AT&T does not, though, is the ability to use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi hot spot. Verizon says up to five Wi-Fi devices can connect to the iPhone's Internet connection at the same time.

How much will the Verizon iPhone cost?
Verizon is offering the iPhone 4 for the same price as Apple, AT&T, and others: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB. Both include a two-year contract.

We don't know much about pricing on plans just yet. Verizon COO Lowell McAdam said at Monday's press event that he wasn't ready to give details.

When can I buy it?
If you're a current Verizon customer, congrats, you get first crack at it. You can pre-order it starting February 3. The rest of us have to wait until February 10 for the official launch.

Will I finally be able to buy a white iPhone 4 then?
The answer is no, for now. A Verizon representative told CNET a white iPhone 4 will not be available next month. The official line from Apple remains in effect: the white model will be available sometime this spring. (Here's additional background on the saga of the white iPhone 4.)

Do I get a free bumper case with this iPhone 4?
Sorry, no. Apple ended its guarantee of a free bumper for all iPhone 4 customers at the end of September.

Is Verizon the only one who can sell a CDMA iPhone?
Nope. Apple COO Tim Cook told reporters today that while Apple and Verizon have a "multiyear" contract, it is not exclusive. That means other CDMA carriers like Sprint could potentially be next to sell the iPhone.

If Verizon is pushing its LTE network so hard, why is the iPhone still on CDMA?
Apple's Tim Cook said there were two main reasons that the iPhone isn't on LTE: the first generation of LTE chipsets "forced design compromises," and "Verizon customers want the iPhone now."

If I want to switch carriers, should I cancel my current contract?
Don't even think about it! The best way to lose your cell phone number forever is to cancel your contract with your current carrier (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or others) before signing on to a new one. Instead, walk into any retail store with your current phone in hand and sign up for a new contract. Verizon reps will do all the heavy lifting for you.

Will I need to sign a new contract?
Yes, unless you wish to buy the iPhone 4 at the unlocked price, which typically costs much more up-front. Again, the 16GB model will cost $199 with a two-year contract; the 32GB model will sell for $299.

How long will it take to port my number?
The timing varies, but you could get use of your number on your new phone in as few as three hours, or up to a day. If the volume of requests is too high, the port could take as many as four days. Patience is a must.

What do I do to activate the porting?
You won't have to do a thing. When the porting is complete, you'll receive a text to your new phone. The porting process is identical from all carriers.

Will I be charged extra fees?
There is typically an activation fee for new two-year contracts. In addition, you're responsible for paying your previous carrier for the final service charge before you canceled. If you duck out of a contract, you'll also face an early termination fee (ETF). The exact ETF differs by carrier--some pro-rate based on how many months of the contract you've already fulfilled, while others may have a fixed bail-out penalty. For instance, AT&T has boosted its ETF, very likely in anticipation of losing its exclusive control over U.S. iPhone sales.

What's the Verizon iPhone's SAR?
The iPhone 4 on Verizon has a SAR (specific absorption rate) of 1.18. The iPhone 4 on AT&T has a SAR of 1.17. Since the difference is so small, it's basically the same.

A cell phone's SAR is a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the handset. All cell phones emit RF energy, and the SAR varies by handset model, even if it's the same phone across different carriers.

More to come.

CNET's Jessica Dolcourt and Nicole Lee contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on CNET
  • Erica Ogg On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica.

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