Verizon (VZ) announced the Apple (APPL) iPhone this week, but the benefits versus the AT&T (T) iPhone are eroding quickly as more details come to light. As information leaks, the anticipation could end by the time the Verizon iPhone is available in February.
Hotspots for All iPhones
The biggest benefit announced for the Verizon iPhone are the personal hotspots, which allows the iPhone to create a Wi-Fi area for other device to get online. According to Apple Insider, Apple iOS 4.3 will bring the hotspot option to all iPhones -- which squashes the Verizon advantage. The question is when 4.3 will be available, but chances are the update will be before the February 10 Verizon iPhone launch.
iPhone 5 Coming Late To Verizon Customers
Verizon customers will be getting the iPhone 4 next month, but AT&T customers would have had it available for more than a half year. As it does every year, Apple is almost definitely announcing and releasing another iPhone this summer, but it is very unlikely that the "iPhone 5" will be available for Verizon users the same time as AT&T customers.
First, it would anger Verizon iPhone purchasers. Imagine customers buying an iPhone 4 in February, locking into a 2-year, no upgrade contract, and finding out that the next iPhone is available on Verizon five months later.
Second, it allows Apple to give AT&T some latitude. If the new iPhone 5 comes out first on the AT&T service this summer, it rewards their customers and gives them the leg up for being a loyal AT&T customer.
If the AT&T iPhone 5 launches this summer, it will be on the Verizon network by this winter at the earliest.
No data and voice at the same time
While it may avoid the overburdened AT&T network, the Verizon CDMA standard comes as a price: It can't use voice and data simultaneously. In other words, online information cannot be accessed while on the phone. It is a simple issue, but longtime iPhone customers will have to adjust to the limitation.
The real winner here is Apple: The iOS updates and CDMA limitations will ultimately make both AT&T and Verizon happy, while early Verizon adopters may have to wait for the inevitable iPhone 5.