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iPhone 3G Outdated On Arrival

Jul 22, 2008
The hype leading up to Apple's launch of the 3G iPhone was huge. However, only a small portion of the total iPhone users will be able to take advantage of AT&T's 3G speeds in the areas they live and work. 3G just isn't available everywhere yet. And it isn't as fast as users may want.

Apple has clearly held back on features that consumers want, because the 3G network that it will run on just isn't robust enough to support high bandwidth applications.

Technology, such as the iPhone, has advanced faster than the networks which support them. That means that users will still have to wait while that YouTube video downloads and forget about uploading a 10 Megapixel photo from your camera-phone. We have the ability to produce products which our available carriers just aren't equipped to support at the moment.

For this reason, 3G is already dead before it has even been fully deployed. It certainly seems that the carriers would be better off spending their money testing and rolling out 4G as quickly as possible to allow for the speed and coverage that 3G just isn't able to manage.

And what is 4G? Standards are hard to pin down because they mean something different to each carrier and standards group. But in general, 4G is just a faster network which would enable carriers to begin allowing devices on their networks which require larger bandwidth (such as an iPhone 3.0).

In turn, device manufacturers could begin offering devices which offer more robust consumer applications such as higher megapixel cameras, higher definition video, full streaming of movies and music, instant over-the-air download of new applications and content, and full duplex video conferencing. Essentially, the goal should be to create a wireless network which supports a smartphone that allows you to do everything you could do on your home computer.

As always, problems persist with the standards and which back-end systems the carriers should use for 4G. Sprint has announced an intention to use Mobile WiMax for its 4G. Others are looking at LTE and various other forms of WiFi.

While the goals and end results are the same, the lack of a single standard will make it much easier for carriers to lock customers onto their networks. And that will continue to hold back the ultimate evolution of the wireless consumer product industry.

It is the hope of consumer advocates everywhere that by the time 5G rolls around, devices will become carrier independent - dynamically able to chose the network with the lowest cost and best signal strength.

Carriers will cease being "Phone" companies and will instead become wireless broadband carriers. All sorts of devices will be able to connect to the wireless realm. Your car, phone, computer, and any number of home appliances will all be connected to the internet. And it looks more and more likely that devices will soon become more aware of each other, allowing your phone to let your garage door, lights, TV, computers, and kitchen know that you are home and ready for your evening meal and entertainment.

As remote as 5G sounds, it is really just around the corner - and many carriers may begin jumping to some features of 5G before they have even completed their 3G or 4G networks. The most competitive carriers will be rewarded with the most revolutionary devices from Apple and others.

Apple's exclusive contract with ATT will expire and It doesn't take a futurist to see that the phone companies will fall all over themselves to build networks which can support the hottest cutting edge products that Nokia, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are able to throw into the public space (at least for those carriers who hope to survive).

Many users will buy the new iPhone with a sense of regret that it doesn't support lightening fast data transfer, video conferencing, and a better camera. But there is little doubt that consumer and business demand for such features will continue to push the surviving telecom industry to xG and beyond.
About the Author
Dustysage is the Editor of MiceChat the wildly popular Disney fan community and news site. And of Telecom Monthly, the one stop page of information for the real top stories regarding the telecommunications industry.
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