The iPhone has finally broken free from AT&T's network exclusivity, with the long-awaited Verizon iPhone officially announced at an event in New York today. But while that was always going to be the big news, in the end it turned out to be the only news, and those hoping for an early taste of the iPhone 5 were left disappointed.
The iPhone first saw the light of day on AT&T back in 2007, but while other countries also saw network exclusives at first, those have long since fallen away (in the UK, for instance, O2's exclusive carrier status came to an end back in late 2009).
In the States, however, AT&T's preferred status has been preserved thanks to rival networks – including Verizon – operating on the CDMA network, for which the GSM-only iPhone wasn't originally designed.
A small matter of three-plus years later and that issue has been resolved. But while the Verizon faithful will finally be able to get their hands on a CDMA iPhone 4 as of next month, it'll otherwise be the exact same phone the rest of us have been using for the past half-year. The most optimistic rumours had suggested the Verizon iPhone would make the jump to next-gen 4G LTE networks, giving it a significant speed advantage over the GSM model.
But with a completely new iPhone 5 expected to be announced in five months or so, Apple was never likely to muddy the waters with a halfway-house update destined only for a single network – no matter how much the believers had wanted it that way.