And it’s official folks. The iPhone is coming to Verizon. A short while ago, Verizon’s Lowell McAdam took the stage with Apple COO Tim Cook and announced that a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 will be available for pre-order starting on February 3 and in stores on February 10. Pricing is the same as it is on AT&T with the 16GB model going for $199 while the 32GB iPhone will retail for $299.
Following the announcement, Cook and Verizon’s Dan Mead answered a few questions during a Q&A. When asked if the iPhone on Verizon would be subject to a yearly refresh cycle, Cook expectedly answered that Apple isn’t prepared to answer that question at the moment. When asked why the iPhone isn’t going to take advantage of Verizon’s LTE network, Cook explained that LTE chipsets necessitate design changes that Apple wasn’t willing or yet able to make to the iPhone 4.
Interestingly, and contrary to previous reports, Cook noted that the iPhone deal with Verizon is a multi-year contract but that there are no provisions preventing Apple from selling the device on other CDMA carriers. And despite rumors from a few months back suggesting that Verizon was upgrading its network to handle concurrent voice and data connections, it appears that iPhone users on Verizon won’t be able to use simultaneous voice and data. “It’s all about getting it on Verizon,” Tim Cook explained, “The customers who want it there will be willing to make the trade-off.”
Lastly, and in a surprise move, Verizon announced that it will allow the iPhone 4 to serve as a wi-fi hotspot via 3G for up to 5 wi-fi enabled devices. In other words, an iPhone user on Verizon can create a wireless network enabling folks in the vicinity with laptops and iPod Touches to access the net. The only issue, though, is that the iPhone at the epicenter of the wi-fi network won’t be able to function as a phone concurrently, but yeah, you already knew that. We imagine that this wi-fi capability will come with some extra charges, but Verizon was mum about that.