Jan. 11, 2011 at 11:33 AM ET
By now you may be overcome with excitement that the ever-inevitable-but-not-quite-tangible Verizon iPhone is here. Yes, finally, for the love of Pete, it's arrived. Time to buy it, right? Not so fast, hot shot. Before you buy the thing (and by the looks of it, it's quite a worthy phone), there are five reasons why you might want to wait, at least until June.
1. Verizon is pushing 4G, but iPhone is 3G
Verizon's chief priority for 2011 is to launch a 4G network that's faster and more reliable than the competition. Their showing at CES proves that they have the momentum and wherewithal to do this, and so far, the network itself seems to live up to the hype. Best of all, there are four Android phones slated to arrive by mid-year intended to navigate the waters of Verizon's LTE network like cigarette boats. So why do you want to stay in a 3G canoe?
2. Verizon's 3G is actually slower than AT&T's 3G
While I can state from years of testing and field experience that Verizon offers a more reliable 3G network, it really isn't as fast as AT&T's. Speed isn't everything, and what good is speed when the connection is poor? But still, you should know this, especially if you love streaming Netflix to your phone.
3. The iPhone might have inherent phone flaws
The iPhone has never been a great "phone." Its dropped calls are the stuff of legend. Its acolytes ignore the flaw with a stiff upper lip, instead praising its more reliable data-rich features. But the dropped calls are real. So, the question is, are they a network thing or a device thing?
Apple is content to let the blame fall on AT&T, but last summer's "Antennagate" showed that there's plenty of finger pointing to go around. I suspect it's a little of both, which is why I intend to test the Verizon iPhone carefully before letting any loved ones buy in.
4. The iPhone can't run voice and data simultaneously
While the technical separation of Verizon's voice and data networks may end up being a reason it drops fewer calls, this is viewed as a flaw by some people who wish to browse the Web while chatting. It's not as anti-social as it sounds: What if the person you're talking to really wants to see a movie with you ASAP? Someone's gotta Fandango that bizness.
5. iPhone 5 is due in June
Like Pavlov's tinkling bell, Steve Jobs' last four early summer iPhone news conferences have programmed iPhone enthusiasts to salivate as the weather gets balmier. This year won't be any different, given the financial power of the annual refresh for Apple, not to mention the fact that carriers all over the world literally bank on it.
The only mystery here in the United States is whether or not there will be a radio chipset in the fifth iPhone that lets it run on both the Verizon and AT&T network. A unified iPhone 5 makes sense, especially if it also supports 4G LTE data. But it would also make a whole lot of early Verizon iPhone buyers angry enough to grab pitchforks and torches. How Apple and Verizon will address this, maintaining both sales and customer confidence, is a true puzzlement.
Now that you know the five reasons not to buy one now, feel free to get in line, money in hand. Believe me, for gadget lovers who swear by Verizon's network, there's no shame in lusting, provided you enter into the transaction as an informed consumer.