After years of rumors and breathless anticipation, Apple’s iPhone is finally coming to the network of Verizon Wireless. But because Verizon is launching a version of the device that has been available from rival AT&T for more than half a year, there was little new technology on display to excite the gadget geeks and Apple fanboys.
On the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.
Few relationships in the technology world are as closely scrutinized as that between iPhone maker Apple and its exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T. Complaints about AT&T and its network have reached a crescendo in recent months, and most analysts believe it is only a matter of time before rival Verizon Wireless gets the iPhone, perhaps as early as this June.
Tongues are still wagging about Apple’s blowout quarter, which saw the company brush past Wall Street forecasts, sending its shares north of $200. But as Wall Street waited breathlessly for the latest iPhone numbers, it was the company’s Mac line that stole the headlines, posting blockbuster 17 percent unit growth.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs told the world Wednesday that he discovered that his health issues are more complex than he had previously thought, so he’s taking a medical leave of absence. Jobs, who earlier this month said his recent weight loss was caused by a hormonal imbalance that was relatively easy to treat, plans to be off until the end of June. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will mind the shop in the interim. Once Apple shares resumed trading after-hours, investors knocked off about 10 percent of their value.