Is pent-up demand for Verizon iPhone about to break loose?

verizon iphone

The Verizon iPhone becomes a reality this week, and speculation abounds about its effect on the balance of power in the smartphone market. Image: CC lecates/Flickr

The long-awaited Verizon iPhone is expected to be announced Tuesday. Some analysts expect millions of Android users to jump ship the moment the Verizon iPhone hits the market. But some are advising Verizon customers to wait until Apple introduces the iPhone 5 this summer.

Verizon iPhone and the Super Bowl

For years the most desirable smartphone in America didn’t even exist. The announcement of the Verizon iPhone will finally answer questions about whether current AT&T iPhone customers and Verizon Android customers will jump their respective ships for the Verizon iPhone. AT&T’s 3G network has become overwhelmed by iPhone users. Verizon is freeing up capacity on its 3G network for millions of 3G iPhones. Meanwhile, AT&T is introducing a flood of Android devices in preparation for a mass exodus of iPhone users to the Verizon network. Some analysts expect Verizon to launch sales of Verizon iPhones in concert with the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

How the Verizon iPhone may be different

The Verizon iPhone will come several months before the iPhone 5 is launched, likely in June. However, Apple’s reconfiguration of the iPhone 4 to accommodate Verizon CDMA technology presents several opportunities for improvements. Analysts expect Verizon to upgrade its technology to allow users to make calls while surfing the web, an iPhone feature AT&T has touted as an advantage over Verizon. The Verizon iPhone may also allow true global roaming. A better antenna that isn’t susceptible to the infamous iPhone “death grip” is an obvious opportunity. Plus, Verizon’s high standards for connectivity and call quality could require Apple to address a common iPhone complaint.

Holding out for the iPhone 5

Despite pent-up demand for the Verizon iPhone, it may be wiser for current Verizon customers to wait before swearing allegiance to Apple. Most experts expect Apple to announce the iPhone 5 in June, because it has unveiled a new iPhone every June since 2008. Early adopters of the Verizon iPhone will be stuck with yesterday’s news when that happens. Waiting to see if a flood of data-hogging iPhones downgrades the integrity of the Verizon 3G network, much like they have done to AT&T, may also be a good idea. Verizon customers have waited years for an iPhone. A few more months isn’t going to hurt.



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