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iPhone Doesn't Surf Fast Enough for Jobs 436

ElvaWSJ writes with a link to a Wall Street Journal interview with Steve Jobs and AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson. As you can imagine, they're pretty enthusiastic. Just the same, they address the possibility that the iPhone will slow internet access on Ma Bell's cell network. "Mr. Jobs acknowledged that the company's new iPhone won't surf the Internet as fast as he would like on the network, called "Edge," but added that the device's ability to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots would give consumers a speedier alternative for Web browsing. For his part, Mr. Stephenson said the iPhone represents a broader push by AT&T into Wi-Fi services, including, potentially, mobile Internet calling. The two men also discussed the iPod's "halo effect" and reflected on the origins of their corporate partnership."
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iPhone Doesn't Surf Fast Enough for Jobs

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  • by Isca ( 550291 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:42AM (#19688203)
    heh... volatile not colatile(?)... I should really use that "preview" feature :)
  • by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:44AM (#19688221) Homepage Journal
    AT&T has an HSDPA [] (3G) network, but there are two issues with it. (1) It's not widely deployed (a few dozen cities, compared to EDGE, which is everywhere that AT&T offers cell service). (2) Although the network is quite fast, the chipsets that support it presently consume too much power. Apple apparently wants a lower power chipset so that battery life of the iPhone isn't adversely affected.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:46AM (#19688261) Homepage Journal
    Um, not to burst your bubble there, but the existing iPhone is EDGE capable.
  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@[ ] ['hot' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:49AM (#19688293) Journal
    You had a commercially available computer before 1984 that had a mouse and a bit-map display and folders and icons? [] []

  • Because (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:52AM (#19688327) Homepage Journal
    Some of it's voice mail features required the carrier to change it's network. If you just put it on the market as an open device, no carrir is going to botherto spend the millions to change their network.

    Of course, if the iPhone does become the next iPod, then other carriers will start to make changes to support those features. Then APple will open it to other carriers.

    This is very Jobs. Get his foot in the door, then eventually be the hippest cat in the whole room.
  • by Brit_in_the_USA ( 936704 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:00AM (#19688391)
    Seems that there are credible reports coming in that in the last 24 hours AT+T have increased EDGE speeds to >200 k bits/s. This should be good news to all AT+T EDGE users: s-seeing-sudden-boost-in-edge-speeds/ []

    As we know, increased means they probably removed some artificial cap....

    I wonder how many days will go by until the drop the speed again? I guess there will be a halo effect of new iPhone buyers showing their friends - "hey look at this I can browse the web" - just for the sake of it....
  • taken out of context (Score:2, Informative)

    by rishio2 ( 1121987 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:02AM (#19688431)
    nice how the rest of his response was cut out... "Mr. Jobs: You know every (AT&T) Blackberry gets its mail over EDGE. It turns out EDGE is great for mail, and it works well for maps and a whole bunch of other stuff. Where you wish you had faster speed is...on a Web browser. It's good enough, but you wish it was a little faster. That's where sandwiching EDGE with Wi-Fi really makes sense because Wi-Fi is much faster than any 3G network. What we've done with the iPhone is we've made it so that it will automatically switch to a known Wi-Fi network whenever it finds it. So you don't have to go hunting around, resetting the phone, flipping a switch or doing anything. Most of us have Wi-Fi networks around us most of the time at home and at work. There's often times a Wi-Fi network that you can join whether you're sitting in a coffee shop or even walking along the street piggybacking on somebody's home Wi-Fi network. What we found is the combination is working really well. When we looked at 3G, the chipsets are not quite mature, in the sense that they're not low-enough power for what we were looking for. They were not integrated enough, so they took up too much physical space. We cared a lot about battery life and we cared a lot about physical size. Down the road, I'm sure some of those tradeoffs will become more favorable towards 3G but as of now we think we made a pretty good doggone decision. "
  • Re:Correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:08AM (#19688489)
    Here, let me correct "it's" to the possessive "its."
  • by Scyber ( 539694 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:11AM (#19688531)
    I thought most of cingular's 3G phones fall back to EDGE when not in a 3G coverage area. If that is the case, then the entire country could still use the iPhone if it was 3G.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:28AM (#19688713)
    Why do you HAVE to go thru iTunes to set a ring tone?

    I know, I know! It's because the iTunes Music Store EULA has stated for years and years now that you're not licensed to use any songs purchased as a ring tone. This provision is required by the music industry, which wants to sell ringtones. Apple is bound by their contract with the music industry here; other companies which do not have such a contract are free to provide the feature.
  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:43AM (#19688941) Homepage
    Just like the Mac, it only auto-connects to hotspots you've used in the past.
  • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:48AM (#19689007) Journal

    Here are some number from the UK Vodafone GPRS (non-Edge) network collected on a typical Cambridge to London Commute:
    Just because Vodafone oversold their GPRS network doesn't mean that AT&T has. I live in one of the most rail commuter heavy areas in the world (NYC area), and I see people on the train using all kinds of Blackberries, Treos, and other wireless devices. I get 160kbps downstream (tested using mobile speed test []) consistently in this area, provided my train isn't going through a tunnel or underground. I use a Treo 650 GSM on Cingular/AT&T network.

    The reason I switched from T-Mobile to Cingular was the data speed. T-Mobile clocked in around 40kbps average, where Cingular/AT&T was 160kbps.
  • by BlueTrin ( 683373 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:53AM (#19689057) Homepage Journal
    (in iPhone-user-friendly plain-text.)

    iPhone 'Surfing' On AT&T Network Isn't Fast, Jobs Concedes By NICK WINGFIELD and AMOL SHARMA June 29, 2007; Page B4 [nowides]

    In an interview on the eve of the iPhone launch, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and AT&T Inc. CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson addressed concerns that the device will have slow Internet access on AT&T's cellular network.

    Mr. Jobs acknowledged that the company's new iPhone won't surf the Internet as fast as he would like on the network, called "Edge," but added that the device's ability to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots would give consumers a speedier alternative for Web browsing. For his part, Mr. Stephenson said the iPhone represents a broader push by AT&T into Wi-Fi services, including, potentially, mobile Internet calling. The two men also discussed the iPod's "halo effect" and reflected on the origins of their corporate partnership.

    The iPhone's first real chance to prove itself will begin Friday at 6 p.m., when the public is finally able to get its hands on the product. If it's successful, the product -- a cellphone combined with entertainment and Internet functions, all of them controlled by finger taps on a touch-sensitive screen -- could force changes across the wireless industry, forcing cellphone makers to respond with new twists in their own hardware. Already, eager fans are lining up at AT&T and Apple stores around the country to buy the device

    Excerpts from the interview follow:
    * * *

    WSJ: Steve, on the eve of the iPhone launch, we wonder if you might compare it to others you've been involved in -- the introduction of the Macintosh, for instance -- both in terms of the consumer anticipation and your own feelings about the impact the product will have in the market?
    [Steve Jobs]

    Steve Jobs: One of the things we feel is this is the biggest breakthrough in user interfaces in 23 years. Since the Mac in 1984 brought us the mouse and bit map displays and folders and icons, there really hasn't been much except for the evolution of that in the last 23 years. This is a revolutionary user interface [on the iPhone] -- multi-touch, direct action. It's pretty remarkable. I'm very excited.

    I remember the week before we introduced the Mac. We knew every computer would work this way once we had the Mac. You couldn't talk about 'If,' you could debate about 'When.' That's how I feel about this. I feel this is the direction mobile devices are going to have to go. I don't think it's a matter of if, it's a matter of when. The first and most breakthrough one of them is going to be on the market tomorrow.

    WSJ: One of the interesting things for people about the iPhone is the bundling of data and voice into one service plan. We've talked to some other smartphone manufacturers in the last couple days who say that would be great if that were extended to other devices because it seems like it would ensure that out-of-the-box people aren't getting an experience where they're pressing a button and something doesn't work. Is that something that you are looking at extending to other phones in the AT&T lineup over time?

    Randall Stephenson: It depends on the handset itself. With this particular device, to not have an inclusive data package with a voice package would be almost irrelevant, right? This is a data and a voice product. It's nonsensical to sell a rate plan separate. As you see devices migrate towards this type of device, I fully expect you'll see rate plans migrate towards that as well.

    WSJ: What do you both envision being added over time to the iPhone, in terms of access to ringtones through Cingular's (now rebranded AT&T) platform and maybe through some other manner, like turning your iTunes songs into ringtones?

    Mr. Jobs: As you may know, iTunes is now the number three distributor of music in the U.S., ahead of Amazon and Target and behind Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and obviously the largest online distributor of
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:27AM (#19689457)
    GSM is the old TDMA-based standard: the physical (radio) layer, the signalling layer that runs on top of the signalling layer (SIM card, authentication, etc).

    UMTS is also known as 3GSM: it's designed to support various radio interfaces, WCDMA being the most common. TD-SCDMA is another, developed by China IIRC.

    To a user (that is, a user of a GSM/WCDMA device), the difference between the two should be the improvements in WCDMA/UMTS over plain GSM/GPRS/EDGE: better handoffs, more voice bandwidth, less quality drops, less latency, simultaneous data and voice, etc., and then the one downside: decreased battery life. The decreased battery life, unfortunately, is apparent on all CDMA-based devices; it inherently uses more power than its TDMA counterparts. (I miss the days of 8 hour *real* talk time)

    UMTS makes incremental upgrades to GSM. GSM SIMs are compatible in UMTS devices, but newer USIMs have more security features. WCDMA and GSM air interfaces can be run from the same infrastructure and calls can be handed between them. The same features and feature codes are available.
    Data access via GPRS/EDGE and WCDMA works essentially the same in software.

    To support both, no duplication is needed. The same software can be used (with minor improvements to handle the new parts of WCDMA), and most WCDMA chipsets have GSM integrated as well. In the USA, GSM and WCDMA run on the same frequency bands (so far), so no new antenna is needed to support 2.1GHz.

    There are a lot more markets with AT&T 3G than the Apple fanboys and AT&T haters like to admit... When ATT 3G appeared in this region (oct 06), they built out 3G first in the biggest city then proceeded to build it out in the two next biggest cities & outlying areas by December. It took Verizon over a year to get that far. The major cities without AT&T 3G are due mainly to FCC licensing issues, and I have heard that they have secured licensing in many of those markets and will be launching 3G soon.

    Basically, I'd guess that at least half of the population that will buy an iPhone has 3G available in their area.

    It's surprising that AT&T here has done a better job than your carrier. HSDPA coverage is the same as GSM coverage throughout my market... not only are the core metro areas & highways covered, the populated outlying areas are too.

    A friend of mine has the same device and he has execllent 3G service.
  • by Arielholic ( 196983 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:48AM (#19689675)
    Why can't you just use an existing MP3 that you downloaded/copied over to the phone?

    Good going there, spreading nonsense.

    The iPhone is the next gen iPod, meaning that all your downloaded/copied/ripped mp3's will play just fine.
  • by helixblue ( 231601 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:52AM (#19689731) Homepage
    If you want faster surfing on EDGE or GPRS, get Opera Mini []. It slims down the HTML and graphics substantially before it gets to your phone. It breathed new life into my Sony Ericsson P910 (GPRS only), making it faster in use than Pocket Explorer my wife's EDGE phone with the AT&T network. The inability to use alternatives like Opera Mini is part of why I'm not as excited about the iPhone as I thought it would be.
  • You realize that there are chipsets that will support 3G technologies /and/ EDGE where 3G is not available, right? That's what, to me, the complaints are about - the two aren't mutually exclusive.
  • Revising history? (Score:3, Informative)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['6.t' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:44PM (#19690481) Homepage Journal
    Since the Mac in 1984 brought us the mouse and bit map displays and folders and icons, there really hasn't been much except for the evolution of that in the last 23 years.

    That would be either "The Xerox Star Office System" in "1981" or at least "Lisa" in "1982", Steve.
  • Re:If only... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 ( 916097 ) <robert@c[ ] ['hro' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:46PM (#19690491)

    300-700kbps--basically, speeds that EDGE was already supposed to support.

    GSM spec for 4 timeslots (the almost universal configuration, and the only feasible "real world" configuration, maxes at 236.4kbps. With 8 timeslots the theoretical max is 473.6kbps.

    So if you'd been sold on "EDGE is 300-700kbps", you'd be looking at a pretty clear case of deceptive advertising.

  • by p0tat03 ( 985078 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:23PM (#19691831)

    Okay, so we know that Apple is in fact a for-profit company seeking, well, profit... but what does that have to do with iTunes and ringtones? Last I checked, iTunes is not exclusively for purchased music, in fact the vast majority of everyone's iTunes library is not in fact purchased from iTunes.

    So forcing the user to go through iTunes is in fact *not* a form of lock-in, since that mp3 I put on my phone as ringtone could have come from ANYWHERE I wanted. If Apple starts implementing a "only purchased music on iPhone" thing, then start crying foul - until then you're just spreading FUD.

    Honestly, I understand why Apple forces the use of iTunes for the iPod and iPhone. Windows Explorer, and even the Mac OS finder, sucks for organizing music and media. I like listening to music on my laptop, dragging interesting songs onto my sync playlist, and have my iPod sync it every time I plug it in to recharge. It's easy, and if I'm looking for a particular song it's also fast as hell.

    Imagine doing that in Windows. Dragging each file over? So many files are mis-tagged, or tagged unintelligibly such that I don't know WTF I'm copying unless I crack open each file for a listen. This is the reason I haven't switched away from the iPod, despite so many manufacturers offering superior hardware and features, because I simply do not want to be a Windows Explorer monkey.

    IMHO, the majority of users are stupid. If you give them an inconvenient way to do something, they will do it that way and blame the inconvenience on you. I can see Apple's POV when they force the default "easy but less powerful" method on their users.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus