Most of the tech press was convinced the Verizon iPhone would be a huge commercial success long before it launched. AT&T's iPhone has had such a well-publicized history of dropped calls and sluggish data connections. Big Red, on the other hand, is an industry golden boy. We assumed their obvious superiority would result in a superior iPhone experience.
But that's not what the data tells us. ChangeWave recently released a survey of 4,068 iPhone owners. They found nearly identical rates of satisfaction among AT&T and Verizon subscribers. 82% of respondents were "very satisfied" with the Verizon iPhone, compared to 80% over at AT&T. 16% of Verizon iPhone users reported being "somewhat satisfied", while 18% of AT&T iPhone owners reported the same.
So yeah- the difference hasn't exactly been staggering. It's interesting to note that the carrier's percentage of dropped calls didn't seem to affect the satisfaction rating much at all. AT&T iPhone users dropped 4.8% of their calls, compared to 1.8% of Verizon iPhone users. This just goes to show that "phone" isn't nearly as important as "smart" to most people.
Despite negligible variances in user satisfaction, the Verizon iPhone is still seen as much more desirable than AT&T's. 46% of prospective iPhone owners plan to go with Big Red, while only 27% are interested in AT&T.
What does this mean? In practice, the iPhone carrier you choose doesn't matter a whole hell of a lot. But the extensive bad press AT&T's iPhone cell-and-data reception has seen over the last few years has been enough to tar them in the minds of the buying public. Verizon doesn't have that baggage weighing them down.
About the Apple iPhone:
The iPhone revolutionized the smartphone market and made the smartphone and touchscreens part of the mainstream gadget world. Before the iPhone, there were no other touchscreen only devices on the market.
The first iPhone went official in June of 2007 and the device was simply called the iPhone. It had EDGE connectivity only and offered no support for 3G networks, which was a sour point for many users. The other major sore point for users was that AT&T landed the exclusive on the device. The original iPhone came in 4GB and 8GB version selling for $499 and $599 respectively with no contract. The 4GB phone went for $199 on contract with AT&T.
The lack of 3G connectivity was fixed in the second iteration of the iPhone called the iPhone 3G. The 3G went official at WWDC in June of 2008, a year after the original iPhone surfaced. This smartphone had 3G connectivity for the AT&T network and a few improved specifications with more storage and other tweaks.
The next iteration of the iPhone was the iPhone 3GS that debuted in June of 2009 at WWDC. This phone supported the AT&T 3G network and added a higher resolution camera that could also record HD video. It came in black and white versions with 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of storage. The 8GB version came after the initial launch as a way to offer the iPhone at a cheaper price. The 3GS runs a 600MHz CPU from ARM.
The latest version of the iPhone is the iPhone 4 that was launched in June of 2010, again at WWDC. This phone changes the shape of the iPhone a bit again and used a new Apple A4 processor and 512MB of DRAM, making it more powerful than any of the previous iPhones. The screen was also improved with a Retina display with resolution of 960 x 640. Verizon later got its own version of the iPhone 4 and marked the first time in the US the iPhone could be purchased from a carrier other than AT&T.
As of now, no new iPhone is expected at WWDC 2011 in June with WWDC said to focus on software. The iPhone 5 is expected later in the fall of 2011.