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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 morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:34AM (#19688125) Homepage Journal
    Simply put: it ain't 3G. That's going to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for iPhone. It's one of the reasons why I won't be buying one, despite the fact that I drooled over the iPhone initially.
  • -sigh- (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xhrit ( 915936 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:39AM (#19688169) 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."

    Nice to see Apple continuing the fine corporate tradition ov copying other people's innovations and claiming them as their own.
  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:39AM (#19688177)
    You had a commercially available computer before 1984 that had a mouse and a bit-map display and folders and icons? Or you got one in 1984 that wasn't from Apple?
  • by Isca ( 550291 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:40AM (#19688183)
    I still think that it's a intended smart marketing move. Get people interested in the iPhone, sells millions of copies, then when the hype starts to fade, during the holiday season, release a new EDGE capable iPhone, and start lowering the price of the current models a bit to capture more market. Betting that they can generate alot of hype just before x-mas this year on new flash memory sizes isn't a good bet... ooohhh 16 gigs of flash -- look at this model of iPod, it has 80 gigs... The size increase, while significant, wouldn't be enough to hype. However, adding EDGE would be. Plus, the flash memory market being as colatile as it has been lately, they can't guarantee their profits/price per gig when they started planning for this for more than 12 months out reliably. This gives them an major hype-able new feature if the larger flash sizes are still to expensive to make an apple sized profit.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:44AM (#19688223) Homepage Journal
    Those had been shelved by Xerox and it was the deal Apple made with Xerox that allowed them to create a product. They DID bring it to 'US'. 'US' being the consumer.

  • by juuri ( 7678 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:49AM (#19688303) Homepage
    And you stopped reading because?

    I won't make any apologies for Job's well known asshole tendencies (but supposedly those are much more subdued since NeXT, guess winning does fix everything?) but all he is doing here is stating what really happened. Were the primitives and direct inspiration for the Mac gui borrowed from Xerox? Damn straight. They borrowed from other places too, but they had the foresight to slap it all together and shove it out to the masses. This is how humanity works people, we build on what others have done and sometimes we take an idea that seems trivial to one person (gui inside xerox that was never intended for consumers) and wring it through the brain of another person and out pops a whole new shift in perspective.

    I'm sure in his heart, Jobs sincerely believes this is the biggest interface breakthrough in 23 years; you or I may not agree. If you pay close attention to Job's words he actually doesn't take credit for anything that Apple didn't do. Anything they co-opt and bring to market is always a "we" or an "us".

  • by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:50AM (#19688305)
    With all the hype over people getting sued and arrested for using someones open AP, I wonder if the iPhone autoconnects without user intervention or if it requires some manual selection. If auto this could cause legal problems as the user would be according to recent suits "stealing bandwith and computer fraud by illegally accessing an another persons network" I dont agree with it, but that appears to be the direction we're going.
  • Your right it aint 3G which means the entire country can use it instead of roughly two dozen cities that have 3G support leaving the rest of the country out in the cold.

    Oh and the iPhone can last a day with normal consumption, not 45 minutes because 3G chipsets consumer insane amounts of power.

    Seriously this not 3G crap is getting old. Its not 3G because in the US 3G is NOT READY YET.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:55AM (#19688349)
    Can I plug the Origami, UMPC, of Samsung into my Mac and have it sync with my iTunes library?

    No? Then it isn't a music player as far as most of us are concerned.

    It is telling that you compare iPhone's wifi (only) to Origami and UMPC. Then you compare its cell data connection to a Samsung phone. And totally ignore the fact that none of the above play music from iTMS.

    What you FAIL to understand is that iPhone combines ALL of these features into one sleek package. It doesn't just do wifi as well as the Origami. It doesn't just look better than the Samsung. It doesn't just play my iTMS music. It isn't just the simplest smart phone with the best UI. It doesn't just have ground breaking visual voice messages, or multi touch inteface with no clunky mini-buttons. It does ALL of those things, really well, all packed into a normal sized cell phone package.

    Watch. When every other person you pass on the street has iPhone, you hillbillys with your half screen half keypad dumb phones will be the laughingstock.
  • Don't want people to connect to your wi-fi? DOn't have your Wi-fi asking for connections.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:01AM (#19688409)

    1. Business commuter trains (starting time) 7:15-8:45 and 17:15-18:45 97% downlink packet loss, totally unuseable. Looks like the BB is actually prioritised versus any other traffic
    I think prioritizing the blackberry, or at least text, isn't such a horrible idea. 1 jpg = 50 emails. Remember before video, before audio, it was static images that were going to come along and create the great "world wide wait." I guess long-range wireless is still at that point. Better to grant 50 people email access than websurfing to 1.
  • Re:WiFi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bruns ( 75399 ) <bruns@NosPAm.2mbit.com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:13AM (#19688549) Homepage
    If you offer unlimited data plans with your device, having built in wifi means that the end user wont bog down the network as much when they are around a local wifi AP. If you rely strictly on the cellular network for data and people actually use the service they are paying for, the performance in general will start to suck if you haven't built out the network properly.

    I'd say its AT&T protecting itself when problems start to crop up with their data network.
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:14AM (#19688559) Journal
    You've drunk the Kool-Aid.

    Apple is NOT your friend, and they are NOT trying to bring about a revolution for the little guy. They are trying to worm their way in to every possible aspect of getting your money. Why do you HAVE to go thru iTunes to set a ring tone? Why can't you just use an existing MP3 that you downloaded/copied over to the phone? Because Apple doesn't get a cut that way.

    The phone is not unlocked because Apple gets a cut of the service from AT&T. The phone will most likely only be unlocked when Apple negotiates a cut from the other GSM service providers.
  • by xeno-cat ( 147219 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:16AM (#19688579) Homepage
    So Jobs should have appended, "...except, of course, for the Xerox Star. We all remember the Xerox Star right?"

    There were several little incubator projects or outright commercial failures for GUI's in the early 80's. Macintosh was the one that brought it to the world. They are the ones that got it right. That gives them some pretty significant bragging rights.
  • More bullshit from AT&T:

    Mr. Stephenson: If you think about wireless broadband networks, EDGE is the only ubiquitous nationwide broadband network deployed today. It's a 300-plus kilobit type service. We're selling in the tens of thousands every single month of smart phones that operate on nothing but EDGE. The service experience is really, really good and what you're going to see with the iPhone is the caching technology that Steve and the Apple guys have developed here makes the EDGE experience even better. Between the Wi-Fi and the EDGE coverage, this is a really good experience.

    High latency, low bandwidth broadband. Huzzah!

    Sprint's EVDO network is deployed as widely as AT&T's EDGE network (not even all of AT&T's GSM network is EDGE). Worse, Sprint's EVDO revA network is deployed in most metropolitan areas, nearly all interstate highways, and nearly all tourist areas.

    For AT&T, Edge is "all the speed you need", up until they deploy HSDPA, in which case that will be, "all the speed you need". Just like this: http://www.nyquistcapital.com/2006/03/30/att-proje ct-lightspeed-and-the-jedi-mind-trick/ [nyquistcapital.com]
    Mr.Stephenson said that AT&T's field tests have shown 'no discernable difference' between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and Comcast's 6 Mbps because the problem is not in the last mile but in the backbone.

  • Re:Halo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:22AM (#19688655)
    But you forgot:

    5) Look at what we did for the music industry

    Which means that Apple redefined the entire business. Any label that turned down Apple when they came calling about iPod/iTMS has either wised up and jumped on the bandwagon too late or had better spend the last few dollars they are about to make on shutters to cover their windows when they vacate their buidling.

    The future is plain enough for anyone with vision to see. iPhone will be the new word for cell phone. 5 years from now when you walk into a hospital you won't see "No cell phones" signs, you'll see a graphic of an iPhone with a circle and a slash through it, just like you do now for iPods (oh, I'm sorry, 'music players' to you few remaining holdouts).

    Sure, Apple might eventually relent and let other carriers join in the revolution, but likely AT&T will always receive preferential terms. And probably inside access to the partculars of how to make their network use iPhone's industry leading hardware to its fullest.

    But no, I'm not surprised they turned it down. The US cellular industry could be used as a model for how not to be visionary and instead rest on your laurels and hide behind regulation. But the time will come when consumers demand change, and they'll be driven to do so by iPhone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:23AM (#19688661)
    Isn't email supposed to be a store and forward system though?

  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:30AM (#19688749) Homepage
    Actually, this seems to be the case quite often. Going from something like the Xerox Star to the Apple Lisa and the Mac is quite a feat (and Apple actually hired lots of people from Xerox, instead of just lifting their ideas). The first few versions of Windows, on the other hand, were just Macs with half the features cut out.
  • Re:-sigh- (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:33AM (#19688775) Homepage
    Yeah, because you could buy a Xerox Star in 1984. No, wait, you couldn't, Apple actually did bring you those ideas.
  • Re:Revolutionary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:35AM (#19688811) Homepage
    What part of "revolutionary user interface" did you not understand? He isn't even talking about the "touchscreen capabilitites" or "playing music" or "viewing the web." He's talking about how the touchscreen is used, how your play music, and how you view the web.

    Yeah, my P990i does have a touchscreen, does view the web, does play music. That doesn't mean the iPhone's UI isn't revolutionary.
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:42AM (#19688917) Homepage
    Even if you use three times the power to transmit, if you can download the data three times faster, doesn't it come out the same in the end?

    I'd rather have more power consumption to download something in two seconds than less power consumption to download it in 10. The battery life may be somewhat less but if you can get the same amount of web browsing done in less time, what's the loss?

    Sorry, I prefer speed at the expense of battery life. That and no tethering makes the iPhone less than useful for me.
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:53AM (#19689051)
    I was afraid we wouldn't see a single iPhone advertisement...I mean article today...

    What better advertising for the iPhone could there be than Apple's CEO complaining that the data rate is too slow?

    my fears have been relived...

    I'm sorry you even had to live them once, much less twice.

  • by QMalcolm ( 1094433 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:01AM (#19689161)
    Ok, that one was just ridiculous!
  • by 4iedBandit ( 133211 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:09AM (#19689247) Homepage

    Even if you use three times the power to transmit, if you can download the data three times faster, doesn't it come out the same in the end?

    No it doesn't. I for one find it unacceptable to have to plug in my cell phone in the middle of the day. It's why I've opted for smart phones with fantastic battery life (Sony P800 and currently the Nokia e61). Until they announced the new battery life figures for the iPhone it was a non-starter for me, regardless of how cool it may be. There are plenty of times when I'm not near a power outlet, and since I'm on-call 24/7 there are also plenty of times when I don't want to be tethered to a power outlet. Long battery life means I can go where I want and do what I want without concern about the phone dying. I plug it in while I sleep and the next day it's ready to go all day again.

    I've been to trade shows with people running around looking for power outlets so they can charge their phones. Tethered to one place for an hour or two at a time. Sorry, I've got places to go and things to do.

    Is edge slow compared to 3G? Sure, it's what I had on the P800 and it's what I have on the e61 (T-Mobile doesn't do 3G). You know what? It's fast enough for email and web surfing is tolerable. I'm not downloading Gigabytes of data because IT'S A FREAKIN' PHONE! Is 3G faster? No doubt. But for email and web surfing edge is actually just fine. If I need faster access then most likely I also need the processing power in my laptop, not a phone. For those occasions I'm after a wi-fi hotspot anyway.

    Having said all that, if the iPhone was 3G would it be better? Of course. But is 3G the "requirement" every seems to think? Hardly. Of course I'm also a weirdo who thinks the lack of flash support in Safari on the iPhone is actually a blessing.

  • by Flunitrazepam ( 664690 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:48AM (#19689683) Journal
    You're confusing 3G with W-CDMA. EDGE is a GSM "upgrade". A significant portion of US cell users are on CDMA networks (Verizon/Sprint/...). For 3G those users are using EVDO, which "degrades" to 1x. You can think of EDGE and 1xRTT as 2.5G, at least relative to data transfer rate.

    So the progression is something like this:

    2G -> 2.5G -> 3G -> 3.5G -> 4G
    GSM -> Edge -> W-CDMA(UMTS) -> HSPA -> LTE
    cdmaOne -> 1xRTT -> EVDO -> EVDO Rev A -> UMB/OFDMA/WiMAX

    Sprint has already rolled out EVDO Rev. A in some locations, which is "bitchin fast" for both download and upload.

    I've had an EVDO Rev. 0 card in my laptop for a few years, and while I wouldn't say it is quite as fast as WiFi, it is really great and I get 5 hours of battery life.

    In conclusion, your statement that the country is "EDGE ready, not 3G" is inaccurate in several ways. Not meaning to flame.
  • by __aamnbm3774 ( 989827 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:55AM (#19689773)
    there needs to be a 'Lame' moderation.
  • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:14PM (#19690063) Homepage
    The thing about the iPhone is that Jobs has already talked about getting 3G into the iPhone (in the Macworld 2007 keynote). I don't know who would buy a $499 phone with a 2 year $59/mo contract for a device that will be admittedly be superseded by something much better.

    For a device that is clearly going to be bandwidth hungry to be useful as more than a pretty phone it needs 3G. If Wifi is available and you want to stick around a hotspot you might as well take out your notebook, if you're not buying it for the internet capabilities why not just get a plain phone?
  • by nasch ( 598556 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:15PM (#19690081)
    But aren't you just making up numbers? Don't you think ATT and Apple didn't just make up numbers and instead did research to find out what would use less power?
  • by nanio ( 937692 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:17PM (#19690105) Homepage
    A ridiculous and obsolete state law. It's unfortunate that a few people will get caught up in this before the appropriate precedents and inevitable consensus is built. Here it is: Unsecured = Access is OK. State legislators, go fix your laws.
  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:24PM (#19690209) Homepage
    Make up enough numbers in those examples?

    Besides, TFA also says there are issues with 3G chips, including power consumption AND physical size. There's a limit to the numbr of discreet chips you can cram into a device before you also start having to increase the form factor. More power hungry chips means a bigger battery to get to the same life, which also translates into a larger form factor.

    Yes, you could probably add in 3G and GPS and an 80B drive and tethering and all of the other "missing" features that people are complaining about... but do you really want a phone the size of a Newton?
  • by Knara ( 9377 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @12:25PM (#19690219)

    The thing about the iPhone is that Jobs has already talked about getting 3G into the iPhone (in the Macworld 2007 keynote). I don't know who would buy a $499 phone with a 2 year $59/mo contract for a device that will be admittedly be superseded by something much better.
    MacFans essentially do this on a regular basis with Apple products anyway.
  • That's where sandwiching EDGE with Wi-Fi really makes sense because Wi-Fi is much faster than any 3G network.

    Nice spin. I wish I had Wi-Fi networks wherever I roamed. My HTC Wizard has EDGE+WiFi, but I've never heard anyone claim "Whadda you want 3G for, you have Wi-Fi!"


  • by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @01:03PM (#19690727)

    I don't know who would buy a ... device that will be admittedly be superseded by something much better.

    Every single person you're talking to, for starters. Haven't you just described the whole freakin' tech industry?

  • by cez ( 539085 ) <[info] [at] [his ... ngyesterday.com]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @01:18PM (#19690907) Homepage
    Gotta love /. moderation... noone caught;

    I still think that it's a intended smart marketing move. Get people interested in the iPhone, sells millions of copies, then when the hype starts to fade, during the holiday season, release a new EDGE capable iPhone, and start lowering the price of the current models a bit to capture more market.

    that this poster had no idea what he was talking about and the iPhone is already on the Edge network...hence the entire basis of the article.

  • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @01:50PM (#19691331) Homepage

    I don't know who would buy a $499 phone with a 2 year $59/mo contract for a device that will be admittedly be superseded by something much better.
    1.) Waiting for a 3G phone is pointless if you don't have 3G service available in your area.
    2.) Waiting for the next iPhone means waiting an unknown length of time. It could be years.
    3.) The contract doesn't say you have to use the same phone for two years. If a better one comes out, you can switch.
    4.) Many people are more interested with having constant access to things like email, which doesn't need 3G speeds.

    If Wifi is available and you want to stick around a hotspot you might as well take out your notebook.
    This assumes you're carrying your notebook around everywhere you go. In which case, why would you buy an internet-capable phone at all?
  • by 4iedBandit ( 133211 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:09PM (#19691611) Homepage

    Um, you're made up numbers are not in your favor...

    EDGE phone: You spend two whole minutes on this because the connection is so slow. The radio operates most of the time pulling data at slow speeds, sucking down, say, 1 watt for 60 seconds of that time.

    So for two minutes on edge, by your example, I use 2 watts.

    3G phone: You spend 30 seconds on this because it's a nice fast connection. The radio only operates some of the time, pulling data at high speeds but sucking down, say, 4 watts for 10 seconds of that time.

    And for 30 seconds on 3G, by your example, I use 12 watts.

    So with 3G the phone goes dead mid-day and now I can't access my brokerage account at all. This is coming out ahead? I don't think so. Again if I have to choose slow that lasts all day to fast that last half a day (or less) I'll chose slow. Fast access is worth crap when your battery is dead. I don't want to have to carry around 3-4 extra batteries let along keep track of which is charged. Nor do I want to be tethered to a power outlet every few hours.

    Sure they could have put a bigger battery on it, but that defeats the purpose of having a slim phone.

  • Re:Correction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DECS ( 891519 ) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:29PM (#19691947) Homepage Journal
    Not having Flash is a feature.

    Apple yanked all of the Flash from its corporate website and redid it all in standard Ajax using scriptilicious and other plane jane tools, demonstrating that anyone can. It's even more interactive and functional (check out Apple.com search) and no proprietary plugin for Flash required.

    Adobe isn't happy about it, but do we really need to convert the web from open HTML into closed FLA? Apple even convinced Google to start putting all of its FLA On2 videos on YouTube into standard H.264. That makes is much easier to deliver standards-based hardware acceleration for mobile devices that optimizes YouTube type sites.

    With this kind of progress, the web is headed back into open territory after a long captivity in proprietary hell. That's good for Linux users, DIY site builders, and levels the playing field in hardware.

    The web shouldn't be hostage to anyone's plugin just to render pages, particularly a plugin tied to a proprietary and industrially uncommon video codec that doesn't appear to have any hardware acceleration features. Anyone can license H.264 or get cheap dedicated processors.

    Internet Explorer on the desktop PC doesn't make any attempt to support CSS3, and doesn't even try hard to do 2005-era CSS. The Pocket version is even further away from being remotely useful for the modern web.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.