The iPhone 4 was unleashed on the Verizon network earlier this month, and despite some nice extras unavailable on the AT and T iPhone 4, including the ability to use your Verizon iPhone to create and share a wireless mobile hotspot, the sales of the Verizon iPhone have been, by most accounts, underwhelming at best.
One might think that the ability to not only tether with your iPhone, but to share your Internet connection with a few of your friends and their computers, would be tempting indeed. Explains the Verizon site of the option to create a mobile hotspot with your iPhone (or indeed other Verizon smartphones), “Your wireless device already acts like a modem, pulling in a mobile broadband signal for your phone to use. Get online access when you connect your phone to a internet-ready device – such as an iPad or notebook.”
Yet even the allure of the mobile hotspot capability, not to mention the draw of being able to have an iPhone on a network other than AT&T, was not enough to create the flood of sales that Verizon was clearly anticipating, and Apple likely hoping for.
According to some industry insiders, who had access to even deeper inside information, in five separate Apple stores polled, sales of the Verizon iPhone, while greater than sales for the AT&T iPhone at the same store for the same period, were not that far ahead of their AT&T counterparts. In fact, on average, there were only 4 Verizon iPhones sold for every 3 AT&T iPhones sold in those Apple stores for which the information was available. While a 4-to-3 lead is still a lead, it’s by no means the stamped that some had expected.
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Other reports indicate that Verizon ended up shipping half as many iPhones as they’d thought they would on the first day that the Verizon iPhone was available, and as few as 1/3 of the units they’d expected to ship in the days following.
Does this mean that the Verizon iPhone is a flop?
Certainly not in our book, when you consider that generally speaking, the iPhone 4 has been out for more than 7 months, and the vast majority of people who wanted an iPhone 4 undoubtedly had already purchased one way before now. While the Verizon iPhone is new, the Apple iPhone as a product line has been out for what amounts to ages in a market that sees new phone models and, indeed, new technology, on pretty much a weekly basis.
Moreover, for that population of people who would have waited for Verizon before purchasing an iPhone, it stands to reason that they might wait a couple of months longer, so that they can get a Verizon iPhone 5.
In fact, perhaps the true test of the viability of a two-carrier iPhone universe will be demonstrated by observing to which carrier brand new iPhone purchasers flock when (if) Apple launches the iPhone 5 on both AT&T and Verizon simultaneously.
In the meantime, those of you who are planning to buy your first iPhone can revel in the novelty of having to choose across whose network you will shout into your iPhone “Can you hear me now?”
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