Cult of Verizon

Yeah, it's that time.  Verizon iPhone rumors are running around more crazy than usual and this may just be it this time. Even if you're not interested in Apple, Verizon, AT&T, or this tech stuff in general, I think you may still find this post interesting.  Read on.

Ever since the iPhone released in 2007, rumors have been abuzz about when the phone might go to what was considered (at that time) to be the nation's strongest and fastest growing network.

Fast forward three years and four iPhone models later...the phone is still on one carrier (although in many countries it has been and is on several).  Even after all that time, many many people (including myself) are still on AT&T and own an iPhone.  Even better, most of those users like the phone so much that their next phone...will be an iPhone.  Even after the "antenna gate" situation, the return rate for the iPhone 4 was staggeringly low.

I think it is clear and fair to say that most iPhone users like their experience on their phone so much that they'll wait in line for the next one. On. Day. One.

The truth is, iPhone users are experiencing what Mac users have been experiencing since the original Macintosh.  A cult atmosphere.

Those who were already members of "Cult of Mac", only got worse when the iPhone debuted.  Apple has, without question, a following of elitists who believe more in the product than many do in their own faith.

So, I began thinking...what would happen if the iPhone went to Verizon?  Are iPhone customers that in love with AT&T?  The obvious answer is no.

But you've got to think for a second...think of what AT&T did for Apple.  Before the iPhone, the carrier controlled everything on a cell phone.  They controlled who manufactured it, they controlled the software, they controlled the apps(though there were virtually none), and because of this, they controlled you.  Verizon was infamous for this.  Every Verizon handset was locked down more than any other handset in the world.

Apple wasn't interested in that.  In fact, Apple didn't even show AT&T the iPhone until the very last second.  Apple wanted to do whatever they wanted to the phone, they just wanted the carrier to...carry the network.  This was groundbreaking. AT&T took a risk to try something new with Apple.  Something that Verizon turned down.

What's the most important aspect of this? The logo.

Look all over an iPhone, you won't find an AT&T logo on the device.  NO CARRIER IN THE WHOLE WORLD gets to put their logo on Apple's device.  Apple did the same thing with the Intel's stickers.

Keep that in mind, but put it to the side for a second.

I kept thinking to myself, why don't I like the idea of a Verizon iPhone?  By almost all accounts, a Verizon iPhone would be a much better product.  Still, something about it didn't seem right to me.  Was it because of their old technology? Was it because the Droid commercials fought against the iPhone so strongly? Was it because they originally turned down the iPhone?  Was it because I just signed a two year agreement with AT&T to get the new iPhone? Was it because Google and Verizon seem to be best friends as of late (Steve has obviously not been in full support of Google recently)?

Then I realized why I didn't like the idea of a Verizon iPhone.  Users!  I didn't like Verizon for the same reason that Windows users didn't like me.  I hate the fact that they're always talking about how much better their service is.  PC users hate the fact that I'm always talking about how much better Apple is. Duh! And, if the best handset in the world were to go to the best carrier, their arrogance might get worse! OH NO! :-)

Get ready for this...Verizon is a cult.

Verizon has put more effort into their brand and name..."Can you hear me now?" than any other carrier.  AT&T and Sprint had a name for themselves already. They've been offering phone service under their names for a long time (though Verizon was formed from a split in AT&T a long time ago and Cingular was the name that AT&T was under during the first iPhone). T-Mobile came in from oversees and bought up some of the smaller GSM carriers.

Verizon focused on two things: 1)Making their network the largest and best and 2) Making everyone believe that it was.

Think about it, Verizon users are in love with...Verizon.  People who bought the Droid aren't necessarily in love with Android, although it does everything they need it to do.  They aren't in love with Motorola (the hardware manufacturer), they're in love with an iPhone competitor being on Verizon.  Even though their network data speeds are slower, their radio technology older and dying, Verizon came out with commercials that simply told people that they were the best.  They had great coverage and leveraged that to make everyone believe (because it was mostly true) that they were the best.

It was genius.

So, people are in love with Verizon.  They love their service. They put up with their phones.  For a long time, every Verizon handset had the same crappy software on it.  The phones were incredibly locked down. But because the customer believed Verizon to have the best coverage, they got the phone they had to.  After all, when you pick a cell phone carrier, wouldn't you pick the one with the best service?

Verizon is a cult.  Moreso than any other carrier in this nation.  Verizon people love their carrier like Apple people like their computer maker.

The question becomes, can two cults participate together?

Remember the logo?  Every Verizon phone has the Verizon logo on it. Verizon wants you to know first and foremost that that phone is on Verizon.  This is why the name "Droid" has almost become synonymous with Verizon. No Apple iPhone (worldwide) has a carrier logo on it.  Apple wants you to know, without a shadow of a doubt that that phone was made by Apple.

Once again, can these two work together?

I think, as silly as it sounds, that there should be some serious consideration given to the fact that Verizon wants their logo on every phone.  This would include the iPhone. I don't see Apple EVER allowing that.

Would that be enough to stop the deal?  I think that it's very possible. We will see come January.

For more info on a Verizon iPhone this coming January, see Daring Fireball.