As everyone reading this knows by now, the two flavors of iPhone are close to identical. So much so that I keep getting confused about which one is which–at least until I turn them on, whereupon I can check out the carrier identifier in the upper left-hand corner.
Without turning the phones on, I could examine the slightly different placement of the antennas and mute switches. But there’s a more obvious difference that I’ve found quite handy: The Verizon iPhone has way less fine type on its back, and is missing an entire row of regulatory logos.
By happy coincidence, I just read an Ars Technica piece by Casey Johnston that explains the stuff on the back of iPhones, and helped me figure out why there’s so much less of it on the new Verizon model.
Here’s the AT&T iPhone 4:
Summarizing Ars’s explanation, the logo on the left that looks like it’s an “FC” is really an FCC–the Federal Communications Commission. The next one, which looks like a Starbucks cup with an X through it, refers to a European Union directive discouraging people from tossing their electric gadgets into the trash. The “CE” stands for “Conformité Européene” and indicates that the iPhone can be sold in the European Union. The “0682″ next to that shows that Apple hired a company in Germany to confirm that the iPhone meets the standards required for European sale. And the exclamation point on the far right tells Europeans that the iPhone is a Class II device that might try and operate on unauthorized frequencies in some countries.
Here’s the backside of the Verizon version of the iPhone 4:
No ugly logos! The Verizon iPhone 4 is a custom version for Verizon’s CDMA network, and so will never be sold outside the US. Presumably that’s why it doesn’t need any of the various icons relation to European certifications. It doesn’t have the FCC logo, either–maybe that’s optional as long as a device has the FCC ID, which the Verizon iPhone does.
The IC number at the right of the row above the icons on the AT&T iPhone 4 relates to Canadian certification, also unnecessary for a Verizon phone.
The “AT&T iPhone” isn’t really an AT&T iPhone–it’s a 3G GSM iPhone that’s sold all over the world. So it needs all the European detritus, even if you buy it stateside and never take it out of the country.
So there you have it. If you like your Apple products simple–and Lord knows that Apple would abandon all the logos and fine type except its own if it were permissible–the Verizon iPhone 4 is your best bet…