When Apple found another distribution partner in Verizon, it didn't need to do much more than take a step back and watch the two telecom companies go at each other like two veteran wrestlers in a WWE Smackdown. And like humorist James Thurber's story, "The Catbird Seat," Apple is "sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him."
After all, why does Apple have to get their hands dirty, when both of these companies can do all the heavy lifting?
In addition to an aggressive ad campaign, AT&T is pulling no stops in attempting to limit the attrition blow that Verizon attempted to deliver with its recent iPhone 4 launch. One targeted promotional campaign is actually creating doubt with potential AT&T defectors based on a feature smartphone users love - the ability to multi-task. This advertisement talks about what many are saying might be the deal-breaker feature.
Apparently Verizon lacks the ability to talk and surf at the same time. Verizon's iPhone does not allow for simultaneous voice and data connections. This means that when a call is engaged, while users can access their contacts and apps, they will not be able access the Internet.
AT&T's second blow might be interpreted as a bribe or thank you, dependent how fond you are of the company. According to a CNET report, many current AT&T iPhone users have received text messages "thanking" them for being loyal customers, and while it's not implicit- it might be really thanking them for not jumping ship.
AT&T Free 1000 minutes
The texts are delivered from the number 11113020 and according to the report, when a user replies with "YES," another text is sent saying that the minutes will be applied to their account in the coming weeks.
The fly in the ointment is that not all iPhone owners are receiving this message, which suggests that AT&T is only going after those whose 3-year contracts are about to expire (an original requirement by Apple when you purchased iPhones previously.) For instance, I am owner of the very first iPhone - which many are calling an antique at this point - and AT&T has not contacted me yet. Could it possibly be because I am in the middle of my second term contract with AT&T?
As far as similarities between the AT&T vs Verizon, while there was concern that Verizon might be a weightier device, it has been confirmed that the two phones are identical in thickness and weight.
To Verizon's credit, their leg up pertains to the WiFi connection. While both phones can be used — at an extra service cost — to provide Internet access to your computer, only Verizon's is offering a personal hotspot, enabling not one computer but up to five devices to access the phone's Internet connection, via Wi-Fi.
As far as other differences - on January 11th, after CES in Las Vegas, Engadget put together this comparison report which mathes up all features. As you can see, the "Yes's" seem to give AT&T a slight edge.
AT&T vs Verizon comparison chart re: iPhone 4
However, I would have to say the "jury is still out" as to how many AT&T defectors will actually cross over to Verizon. While the initial reports are indicating a slower-than-normal launch for iPhone 4s being sold through Verizon, the next couple of months will be telling as to which firm is actually garnering the greater market-share.
All that can be said - at this juncture - is that Apple is still sitty pretty in the catbird seat, reaping the rewards of another distribution channel, pleased to receive the additional revenue flow.