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updated 3/14/2011 2:10:34 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:34

NEW YORK – It's official: After much speculation and anticipation, the Apple iPhone will finally be coming to a Verizon Wireless Network near you in February.

"Today, we are extremely gratified that early next month the Apple iPhone 4 will be part of our network," Verizon President Lowell McAdam announced today.

Journalists and industry experts gathered here today (Jan. 11) at Jazz at Lincoln Center, an upscale venue near Central Park, to hear the much buzzed-about news.

[See also " Graphic: A Brief History of the iPhone. "]

The event confirmed that Verizon will become the second U.S. carrier to sell the  iPhone 4. Until now, the only official way to get an iPhone – any iPhone – was through AT&T.

"Apple is very excited to bring the iPhone to Verizon customers," said Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who made an appearance at the event in place of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We are excited to give them the choice they have been waiting for."

Existing Verizon customers will be able to pre-order the iPhone 4 on Feb. 3, and the device will be available to non-Verizon customers on Feb. 10. The Verizon iPhone 4 will be sold at both Verizon stores and Apple retail stores, and it will also be available for sale on both companies' websites.

A 16 gigabyte (GB) iPhone 4 on Verizon will cost $199, while a 32GB version will sell for $299 – the same price as the AT&T versions.

As expected, the Verizon iPhone 4 will be a 3G device like the AT&T version, and will not be able to access Verizon's  4G network for faster data downloads. But the Verizon iPhone 4 will be able to function as a WiFi hotspot to allow up to 5 devices to connect to the Internet  – something that AT&T doesn't allow.

"This is the first time consumers will have an apples-to-apples comparison of Verizon and AT&T," Mike Morgan of ABI Research told TechNewsDaily. "Verizon has been telling customers for years that they are the most reliable network, but now everyone can decide for themselves if that is the case."

"The introduction of the Verizon iPhone will indeed stem a massive tidal wave right out of the gate. There will be quick movement thanks to pent-up demand," Morgan added. "Not everyone is dissatisfied with AT&T's service, and many will wait for the latest iPhone model to launch in June before officially deciding what they want to do."

Speculation that today's announcement was indeed about the Verizon iPhone began last Friday (Jan. 7) after various Apple-centric reporters were invited to attend the event. In addition, it became known last week that Verizon had recently purchased iPhone-related Web domain names, such as iPhoneForVerizon.com and iPhoneOnVerizon.com. It is standard for businesses to buy related domain names for products, so scammers and pranksters don't redirect traffic to a similar URL.

However, there were still some doubts before the event that the Verizon iPhone would be announced. In keeping with tradition, Apple seemed the likely candidate to hold the press event, not Verizon. Apple also likes to keep its announcements close to its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., so the New York City location raised questions.

But months — and even years —- of speculation that the iPhone would finally make its way to the Verizon network were ended with the announcement this morning.

 

 

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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