TechCrunch writers suck at Verizon predictions
Just got done reading Jason Biggs’s Verizon iPhone related predictions (this is assuming that there even is a Verizon iPhone; I’m not totally convinced it’ll happen before 2012), and he’s predicting a very AT&T-sympathetic picture of what it will be like when Verizon gets the iPhone. I really disagree:
First, expect iPhone sales to surpass Droid sales for a brief period and then level off.
Yeah, no. For sure there’s some pent-up Verizon iPhone demand from the past few years and that’s for sure going to cause an explosion of iPhone sales, but Droid sales have been what they have been because they’re really as close as you can get to having an iPhone experience on a decent network in the US. And the Droid experience falls short of the iPhone experience by a long shot. There aren’t really any killer features that iPhone has, though (things like “good design,” “a smooth UI” and “a much healthier app store ecosystem” aren’t really features per se); in fact, Droid devices have a few really nice features that iPhone doesn’t have and may never have, like mobile hotspot, centralized notifications, and apps get permission to load and run in the background. But none of those are killer features. A good user experience (something iPhone does offer) trumps that. You will definitely start to expect iPhone to start eating more into Droid’s sales, and as a result, Google’s going to have to up the ante quite a bit. They’ll no longer have the advantage of being the only decent smartphone option on Verizon’s network, and so they’re going to have to address a few issues. The user interface is going to need more polish. There will need to be a music syncing solution that is an order of magnitude better than the current solution on Android. Google needs to work more aggressively with phone manufacturers and carriers to make sure users promptly get firmware updates, and that they get many of them (many complain about Apple leaving older iPhones behind too quickly, but the truth is you get more major iOS updates on your iPhone than you ever would on another phone). Once iPhone is on Verizon, it can compete with Droid on a much more level playing field, and it’s going to kick ass.
Second, expect nothing to change in terms of iPhone development over the next few years.
What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? Apple’s consistently been about constant iteration of their products, which I obviously wouldn’t expect to change now that there’s a Verizon iPhone. Naturally, it’s far too early to expect an LTE model of iPhone (I don’t expect one till 2012) so this will be a CDMA model. And Biggs is correct, in that Apple probably isn’t going to start giving one radio technology a better iPhone than the other; they’ll be releasing new models side by side (maybe a slight delay for the CDMA model at first, but that’ll even out gradually).
Next, expect a banner year for Verizon.
No shit, Sherlock. Pretty sure he just stuck this reason in there so that he could have five.
Fourth, expect Apple make this announcement quietly and without fanfare.
This is probably the case. I don’t think it’s going to be so low key that Steve won’t make an appearance. After all, it is a very sought after phone/network, and Apple did have to re-engineer a new version of the iPhone to work on this network. It isn’t too unexpected that Apple is letting Verizon hold the press event, because there probably won’t be many new Apple-y features to announce (it’s really just a new network).
Now, for the bad news. The Verizon iPhone won’t be much better than the AT&T iPhone when it comes to reception and data transmission – at least not yet.
Couldn’t be more wrong. For one thing, Verizon’s entire network is EVDO. That means that as long as you have coverage, you more than likely have 3G (sometimes you have a 1xRTT signal in certain scenarios). That’s already beating the hell out of AT&T, whose 3G network (which they’re now just going to call 4G) only reaches large metropolitan areas and is just beginning to reach out beyond those metro areas, but usually only into areas between two large metro areas (for instance, I can now drive from Madison to Milwaukee and have 3G pretty much the whole way). And AT&T has shown minimal initiative in getting 3G out to the rest of their network which is puttering along on EDGE. Instead, they just kind of pretend that EDGE network doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, Verizon just went ahead and lit up their LTE network last month, which is now already of a pretty impressive size, and by the end of the year, it’s going to be just about as large as AT&T’s 3G network (the one they’ve been building out for the last four years, mind you). AT&T isn’t even expected to start its LTE network until next year, but is making the outrageous claim that their whole network will be LTE 2 years after that (doubtful).
Consider this: I can watch a Netflix movie at my parents’ farm using Verizon’s 3G network. On my iPhone, I can’t even make a phone call, because AT&T doesn’t have a tower within 30 miles of the place, and their roaming partner doesn’t have service there either. I am much more confident in the reach of Verizon’s network than AT&T’s, because they actually try. In big cities it could end up being a toss up because it’s more of a capacity issue than a coverage issue, but even so, Verizon has shown me that they try harder.
People like Biggs have also been saying that when Verizon gets a popular data-hungry phone like iPhone that their network is going to come crashing down. That would be an insightful prediction, except for the fact that Verizon users already use more data than AT&T users, and Verizon’s network hasn’t suffered for it (at the very least, the public’s gut feeling of Verizon isn’t one of dropped calls and data sessions). Verizon’s network also has an overwhelming tendency to give me the full data speeds in more places (it’s more than just having more bars in more places, AT&T), whereas AT&T (who keep claiming that they have the fastest 3G network despite T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network being a shit ton faster) usually can’t keep up. In fact, it’s pretty rare that I get more than a megabit per second on AT&T’s 3G network. Sad. (I just tested it now, and it was around 60 KiB/s for most of the time, then jumped to 130 at the end; a far cry from the 7.2 Mbps it’s supposed to almost be).
To be totally fair, AT&T’s 3G network got a very rude awakening when the iPhone 3G came out, whereas Verizon’s data usage growth has been a little more spread out, but AT&T has still had a very long time to improve coverage in cities (and there are many ways to do this; they just cost some money) and people still aren’t happy. Furthermore, for any AT&T customers who find themselves needing to be out of big cities for some period of time, they’re probably going to jump ship for Verizon the first chance they get, because AT&T just doesn’t seem interested in building out their 3G network (or even patching some of the myriad holes in their EDGE network).
I’m personally rather torn right now as to whether I should get a Verizon iPhone. I live in the LA area now, so I’m pretty much blanketed in 3G (it’s not always that fast or functional, but it’s there), but it would be nice to have decent coverage when I’m visiting the Midwest. I’ll probably switch at some point, just because I hate AT&T so goddamn much.