Apple Outlines GSM and CDMA iPhone 4 Differences

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iPhone users switching from AT&T to Verizon have more to contend with that simply buying a new phone and contract. There are differences in features, too, and Apple has a Knowledge Base article detailing what’s changed between the AT&T-compatible GSM iPhone and the CDAM-compatible Verizon model.

Not all cell networks are created equal

According to Apple’s KB article, some settings AT&T iPhone owners access via the settings menu, such as call forwarding and call waiting, require keypad codes instead on the Verizon network. AT&T’s network supports conference calls with up to five people, where Verizon’s supports only two.

While both networks support dialing soft pauses, only Verizon’s network supports hard pauses. Verizon’s network doesn’t, however, support placing calls on hold.

Apple has an easy to read chart in its KB article detailing the differences between the networks, too.

[Thanks to 9 to 5 Mac for the heads up.]

Comments

Lee Dronick

For the time being I will stay with AT&T

Peter

For the time being, I agree with Harry.

The whole “can’t talk and use data at the same time” is definitely a problem for me.  The slower speeds are also an issue.

AT&T is generally reliable where I am (LA/OC), so I don’t really have the “dropped calls” issue.

That said, my AT&T contract runs out in July and I’m planning to get an iPhone 4S.  So whether I stick with AT&T or Verizon would depend on what capabilities the iPhone 4S has.  If it has LTE, for example, I’d consider switching.  If there’s no LTE version but there is an HSPA+, I’d stay with AT&T.

vasic

And interestingly enough, visual voicemail is NOT a GSM-only feature (or at least it is not listed on Apple’s KB article)

Lee Dronick

And interestingly enough, visual voicemail is NOT a GSM-only feature (or at least it is not listed on Apple?s KB article)

Yes and that is a very nice feature. How about one of youse that have a Verizon iPhone checking it out and commenting on it.

Ross Edwards

Well, Gee Whilikers, Beav, if your contract isn’t up yet, then you have no real reason to port over to VZ.  I suspect the mass wave of ATT switchers won’t happen all at once, but instead will be more of a “death of a thousand cuts.” 

Even among VZ’s existing users, the iPhone adoption isn’t coming from long lines around the block, but from the endless trickle of people at the end of contract who were going to be in the market for a new phone anyway.  The iPhone is the best smartphone out there, bar none.  However, the quality of the hardware is only one of several things that have to meet someone’s needs for them to decide they are ready to ink up on a new contract.

My contract still runs through July, but the wife decided last weekend that she hated her dumbphone, so I got to upgrade to the VZ iPhone sooner than I had planned (and I gave her my BB curve, which she is enjoying just fine).  So far, the iPhone is everything I expected it to be.  And I’m one small step closer to having my digital life be 100% in the Apple ecosystem.  I couldn’t be happier.

Voice and data simultaneously?  I still haven’t had any situation come up in which I would want to try it, so I still don’t care.  I suppose there must be some real hardcorers out there who just can’t tear themselves away from coding long enough to tell their mothers that they’ll be home late from the LAN party, but I suspect the average user is not going to consider the voice/data issue to be a constraint.

And phone calls?  Flawless.  No drops, no static, nothing even close to a problem, whatsoever.  But then again, that’s what Verizon was known for all along.  Their main drawbacks these last several years have been no worldwide standard (GSM) and no iPhone.  One down, one to go.  LTE should solve the other issue as adoption spreads, and by then my wife will crave my iPhone and I can buy the next version.

webjprgm

Hmm, most of those differences look software-solvable to me.  Why can’t the preference setting dial *72 or *73 for you when you toggle the switch?  Why can’t the preference preprend *70 to all your calls when you have that preference set?  Why can’t the iPhone implement a hard-pause in software on the AT&T version?

vasic

Because those would be hacked work-arounds. The services in question are network features that GSM handles in a different manner.

The soft/hard pause is not that simple. When you dial a sequence of dialtones from your phone, the phone keeps talking to the network to make sure it doesn’t send the next tone before the previous one has been received. This is why when your network connection is poor, the phone takes forever to dial a longer sequence of numbers. It seems like GSM simply does NOT support the indefinite wait for the next number in a sequence.

510039

On the no data while talking front… I have a friend with a droid on VZ and I sent him a picture text which he did not receive because he was on a call at the time I sent it. All he got was an error message text that said something like failure to deliver.

That’s kind of a big deal to me, not that the message was anything urgent, but he would never know who the message was from had I not asked him a day later if he got the pic, and then resent it.

So while you might not be surfing while on hold, there are other times where data and voice time overlap.

pdwatson2

VZW iPhone does support Visual Voice Mail.  Costs $3 a month, I was told, though I haven’t gotten my first bill yet.  It is kinda cool. 

I still don’t get the data-and-call-simultaneously thing….  I can’t imagine I would use it much.  In fact I think I would kind of resent it if I was aware someone was checking the web while supposedly holding a conversation with me. It is sort of like being put on hold because another call comes in. Tells me I am really not very important.

Lee Dronick

I think I would kind of resent it if I was aware someone was checking the web while supposedly holding a conversation with me.

It is more than that. Checking the Maps app for during a conversation so that you can give the caller directions. Or “Did you get Chuck’s email?” ‘Wait…Oh yeah tell him to yadda yadda.’ It isn’t mission critical, but it is a very nice feature.

vasic

I still don?t get the data-and-call-simultaneously thing?.  I can?t imagine I would use it much…

It seems that you hadn’t seen the message by 510039 above. The ‘no concurrent voice and data’ problem can be serious if someone tries to send you a text with a picture while you are on the phone. According to the poster above, you will never even know what happened—an obscure error message would be all you’ll get after hanging up. Meanwhile, the sender won’t even know that the message was never received. There are plenty of realistic scenarios that could fail due to this. Imagine a woman seeing her best friend’s husband getting intimate with some other girl, snaps a picture and sends it to her friend, while this one was on the phone. The picture never arrives, and the philanderer is never exposed… With very little imagination, I’m sure everyone can think of a situation where ‘no data & voice’ issue would be a problem.

Lee Dronick

Imagine a woman seeing her best friend?s husband getting intimate with some other girl, snaps a picture and sends it to her friend, while this one was on the phone. The picture never arrives, and the philanderer is never exposed

Always be discreet with your indiscretions.

I am also thinking about talking to 911 while taking a photo of a suspect or getaway car and sending it to dispatch who can in turn send it to the SCMODS in the patrol cars.

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