The Glorious Minimalism of the Backside of the Verizon iPhone

By  |  Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

At the moment, I’m walking around with two iPhone 4s in my pocket: my personal AT&T phone, and a Verizon iPhone lent to me by Apple for review. (More thoughts on it coming up.)

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…


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    Of course, the Apple iPhone is the ONLY phone on which you will see any of these logos, ID numbers, or markings. Every other company puts them underneath the battery, where they belong.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Problem is, they have to be visible on the device in a place where the average user can see them. If only the iPhone had a removable back plate, they could hide under there.

  3. bob Says:

    I expect they must be somewhere accessible to the user. Since the iPhone doesn't have any user-accessible internals, they have to go on the outside. This is pure speculation though.

  4. James Says:

    Excellent piece. I was wondering why no one was mentioning this in their reviews, as I noticed it immediately.

  5. davezatz Says:

    I love a minimalist backside.

  6. Aaron Says:

    I was disappointed to see the word "minimalism" on Technologizer. Probably because I'm so burnt out on seeing it in every 4th post on another "gizmo" website. Seems to be all the overused rage these days. It's not even a word, just a bunch of prefixes and suffixes. Oh well, it still won't stop me from reading this great website 5x a day.

  7. Dominik Says:

    I've never paid attention to the back of my mobile.