Verizon iPhone 4 Deal: A Boon for Video Commerce?

On February 10, Apple’s iPhone 4 will be on Verizon’s network and available to Verizon Wireless customers, prompting us to ask an important question: What impact will the iPhone’s availability on Verizon have on the development of the mobile video commerce space?

Verizon’s iPhone 4’s improvements for video

While the iPhone is well-known for its ease of use and capable HD video recording, its well-documented poor connectivity over AT&T’s network holds the device back. In video, a reliable Internet connection and high bandwidth speeds are the basic building blocks that enable advanced video marketing applications.  That’s why I expect the iPhone’s availability on Verizon to be an important milestone in the evolution of mobile video commerce.

Daniel Della Paolera of The Examiner explained that for the most part, the Verizon iPhone 4 is just your standard iPhone 4 with Verizon’s CDMA network instead of the AT&T network, but there are a few notable changes.

Better mobile connections mean uploading video from the iPhone will be less burdensome than it was in the past, contributing to rising mobile video adoption.

Imagine the possibilities for on-the-fly video recording and playback in a social and in-store marketing context:

  • Unboxing of new products uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, or your favorite retail site with a simple finger tap
  • High quality HD product video reviews online in minutes and shared with your friends
  • In-store candid videos: does the offline experience match the brand promise?  With mobile video, consumers will share personal and very real experiences and their own version of the truth, without regard for your brand.
  • Mobile product reviews and “how-to” videos right in the store.  I can recall a friend of mine who bought a garage door opener. He mentioned to me that he would have loved to have seen a video at the store on how to program the remote control so he could make sure he was buying the right product.
  • Watching in-store customer testimonials – put the sales clerk’s knowledge to the test, or challenge promises being made by in-store staff without ever leaving.

Video production on the iPhone 4

Some notable movie directors and vloggers have already been doing their own video projects with the iPhone 4. Just last week, an acclaimed South Korean film director said that he shot his newest fantasy-horror film entirely on the iPhone 4.  Let’s take a look at some of the iPhone 4’s video features and see if how it measures up to producing business-quality video that could see greater use once the iPhone hits Verizon:

  • HD video recording – the iPhone can record in up to 720p, has an illumination sensor on the front (for better lighting of your subject), and a dual-camera setup for switching from back-to-front recording.
  • Movie editing – Users can also edit video right on the iPhone with iMovie for iPhone 4 – an app that sells for only $4.99. However, iPhone 4’s movie skins are really meant for personal use rather than a professional, business-quality video presentation. That’s why I instead recommend the app Shave Video at just $7.99, which offers a much more streamlined editing process suitable to business.

Video publishing on the iPhone 4

Those who record video on the iPhone 4 will be better able to publish it once connections become more reliable. Some online video platform providers have iPhone apps for uploading video on your iPhone directly to your hosting account. Similarly, Facebook and YouTube also offer the capability to upload video directly from an iPhone.  Still, users need to be aware of some limitations we’ll still see with video uploads from the Verizon iPhone.

Movies uploaded from YouTube will be downsized to a maximum resolution of 568×320. Emailing the video from your iPhone has the same size restriction.  This is one reason it makes sense to purchase a video app for the iPhone 4 that doesn’t have a file size restriction. Even with Verizon’s anticipated better quality coverage, mobile broadband infrastructure is still evolving rapidly; consider how big you really need your video dimensions to be before uploading.

Using the Shave Video iPhone app, one can easily upload videos to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. Looking for distribution to even more social and video networks? Check out the app called PixelPipeTwitVid allows you to upload and tweet your video from your iPhone directly to Twitter. (For more on this, read my article, Twitter Micro-Video Marketing Strategies for Business – The TwitVid Interview.)

iPhone 4 video drawbacks that aren’t going away with the Verizon deal

  • No seamless QR code integration. We’ve reported here earlier on the huge growth of QR codes in mobile video commerce. The iPhone 4, unfortunately, doesn’t come packaged with a native QR code reader. Granted, QR code readers and generator apps can be found can be found in the App Store, but lack of native support will continue hindering adoption.
  • No interactive video capabilities. Unfortunately for developers, interactive video on the iPhone isn’t possible. That’s because iPhone uses the QuickTime player; and Quicktime, Apple’s proprietary codec, doesn’t support interactive video. Apple’s iPad, by contrast, does support interactive video, and is obviously the e-commerce friendly device with the larger screen size.

Verizon’s support for the iPhone will help mobile video commerce

I know that many people have held out on using the iPhone up to this point, because of the poor connection issues with AT&T. I personally left for this reason; I had the first-edition iPhone but gave it up, and now I have a Verizon account. I believe Verizon’s iPhone support will greatly increase the amount of users of the iPhone, and with better connectivity on Verizon (and, perhaps, on AT&T as well once so many customers defect, relieving their congested network), bandwidth-hungry mobile video is an obvious winner.