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Verizon iPhone Coming to a (Crowded) Store Near You

by Mike Karfakis on February 1, 2011

Photo courtesy of jfingas

First, Apple-watchers “heard” that the company was not allowing any retail employees to take vacation in late January/early February.

Then, Verizon Wireless sent an apple-red, but otherwise rather vague invitation to select media for a press conference at New York’s Lincoln Center on January 11.

And then, the day dawned, almost like any other, until the announcement came. The Verizon iPhone was here at last. Or at least it was on its way (sales start February 10), to what is likely to be a very crowded store near you.

The iPhone is one of the world’s most popular smartphones. And AT&T seems to be the world’s least popular carrier.

January 12, the day after Verizon’s press conference, was hardly a slow news day, but the Verizon iPhone held its own against some major news stories: snow on the ground in 49 states, the collapse of the Lebanese government and the one-year commemoration of the massive earthquake in Haiti. After all, the iPhone is one of the world’s most popular smartphones. And AT&T seems to be the world’s least popular carrier.

Aggregate sales of devices running on Google’s Android platform overtook iPhone sales for the first time last year, so the announcement was good news for Apple. For those who had waited until AT&T wasn’t the exclusive iPhone carrier, the announcement was also great to hear.

For those of us who couldn’t wait, not so much. Your current iPhone won’t work on Verizon’s network and it will cost you if you decide to change carriers before your contract runs out.

Comparison of plans abounds. Try All Things Digital, Mashable or Cnet.com for thorough, knowledgeable coverage.

After months of speculation, AT&T had had plenty of time to prepare their response to the Verizon announcement and their emailed statement to the press was quick and terse. The company emphasized the speed of its network and its ability to handle data and voice at the same time, which Verizon’s network currently doesn’t offer.

In our view, AT&T has already lost an extraordinary opportunity. They’ve had a monopoly on a wildly popular product since the iPhone was launched in June 2006 and 3 ½ years later, everyone is still talking about dropped calls. Is there any consolation in knowing that this latest development is as much – if not more – about Apple’s rivalry with Google as it is about AT&T? Probably not.

Are you switching carriers, getting your first iPhone or do you still dial your calls?

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