3G iPhone -- Why It Matters

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3G iPhone -- Why It Matters


Like every shiny new piece of Apple hardware, it seems like from the very moment the first people in line got their paws on an iPhone, speculation began over when Apple would be releasing the second generation. Why? Well, for one, it provided a convenient out for anyone who didn’t want to drop $600 on a new phone (Yeah, yeah, that’s it—I’m waiting around for a better iPhone).


But the truth is, the iPhone was released with features that many users felt could stand a little improvement. Where were the third-party apps? No Java? And isn’t this EDGE network a tad slow?


Well the SDK has finally been released to (some) developers with an actual timeline for third-party apps to become available through the App Store in June. Sun is working on a Java Virtual Machine for the iPhone, with or without Steve’s blessing. With those out of the way, one thing remains: 3G.


3G iPhone rumors are flying. Supposed images of the new 3G model were leaked to much skepticism on the web. At a recent Beet.tv executive summit, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal said that the 3G iPhone could be expected within 60 days (which lines up conveniently with Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference in June).


The conspicuous support of the slower EDGE network in the first generation iPhone has had the term “3G” on the tips of everyone’s tongues since day one, but what does it mean exactly? What does upgrading to a 3G phone mean to the average person?


Sandy Gomo, Director of Product Management for Pantech Wireless, Inc. explained to me what 3G is really going to mean to iPhone users.


“3G provides mobile devices significantly faster access to the Internet and data services, similar to the high speed broadband connection in your home or office. This makes using a cell phone for things like streaming video, surfing the Web and downloading music far easier. 3G phones run at download speeds ranging from 600-1400 kbps, which is fast - roughly five to six times faster than EDGE phones. As you can imagine, a bigger pipeline opens the door for people to develop richer content and more robust applications. With 3G networks, the potential for advanced mobile phone functionality is enormous. At its core, 3G is full of possibilities."


Here, Gomo points out exactly what makes a 3G iPhone a big deal. It isn’t just about loading your web pages five to six times faster. It’s about richer content. On a recent Diggnation, Kevin Rose predicted that the 3G iPhone would feature front and back cameras to allow for video conferencing. While this may simply be speculation, it’s not at all far-fetched. At the SDK press conference in March, we caught a glimpse of the iPhone as a gaming platform—a whole new reason for fanboy daydreaming, with the promise of “console games” and broadband internet in your pocket. The technology is there. All we’re waiting for now is a fast enough connection to plug it in to.




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When Oh when will such petty speculation stop !!... I'm glad maclife dosent add fuel to this speculations ....




Yes, 3G is great. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Me thinks folks forget 3G is not everywhere.

It will be easier for me to get exited when 3G comes to my metro area.



So what happens if you're in an area without 3G coverage? Will the iPhone revert to EDGE?



Well, unless 3G makes be both prettier and smarter, I think I'll just stick with my Nokia 3360...


Former 3G User

WiFi's cool and all, but I am rarely near a free hotspot with this thing, and I am always on the go, so I want to be able to go faster over the network, and EDGE doesn't cut it. It's painful.

I had a Cingular 8525 with 3G over the Cingular (AT&T) network, and 3G was far faster than EDGE. For those of us living in cities with good coverage, it blows EDGE away, and I will look forward to having the option again with my (replacement) iPhone.



Ok, I know this might be a dumb question to most, but if I want 3G, do I need to buy the new iPhone when it comes out in June? I have a 8GB iPhone now but think I will need to buy a new one that has 3G.

All the articles I've been reading about the new 3G coming out in June, I do not recall anyone saying you have to buy a NEW iPhone.

Thanks for the help.



Yes you will



I, like the other person who commented, am perfectly fine with the speed of EDGE when surfing the web on my iPhone. I'm not an expert on the matter, but it is also my understanding that not many places outside of major cities have 3G networks in the US.
Also, I live in Minneapolis where there is (almost) city-wide WiFi that is much faster than 3G anyways. If cities could get a working WiFi network then there would be no need for 3G.
One other thing I don't understand is that from my experience in the past working for Wireless providers (Sprint, Cingular) it seems that they are pre-cautious about having too many 3G devices on their networks because it puts too much stress on their infrastructure. Because of this it wouldn't surprise me if AT&T had something to do with this limitation given the iPhone has access to unlimited network usage.


Jon Phillips, you boss's boss

Nice article! FWIW, the lack of 3G support is the SINGLE thing that has kept me from buying an iPhone.



We in Europe which is a little ahead of the US when it comes to mobiledevices and use of it, 3G is essential to have a market. There is almost no sale of mobiledevice without 3G. Speed is not the only essential improvement (even though it is significant, particulary in areas with much traffic - allways high speed--), there are a service called MMS (multimedia mesage service)which have started to become a part of everyones life ; sending movies, pictures and sounds together with text as a "text message".An everyday activity amoung younger users...

Without 3G, there will be a very limited market, simple as that....



the so called "leaked phone" was on modmyifone MONTHS ago. its an iPhone with a black back that you can buy and replace yourself and then he put on an invisible shield so its shiny you can go to modmyifone and see TONS of pics of it from a really long time ago



Honestly, I am one that has always said that if it was 3G /w MORE memory then I'd absolutely get it. Fact is, I played with my friends iphone and the Edge in my opinion was plenty fast. It's similar to my computer at home which is a G5 power PC. I don't expect 3G to blow me away. With all these new rumors of other features, I'm glad I did wait though. I would think video chat with better software inside will be a much more celebrated improvement. How about Flash content?



It's somewhat strange how the media jumped all over Mossberg's "prediction" about the iPhones release while at the same time ignoring his assertion that 3G, at least as it is implemented in the US basically sucks, and would offer no real improvement over EDGE. He doesn't seem to think that broadband in the US is anywhere near what other parts of the world think of as broadband, pointing out that in Scandinavia, AT&T's DSL wouldn't even qualify as broadband.



the iphone coming to canada maybe? The iphone for the rest of us? The possibility of getting one of those would be the best improvement.

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