Sunday, March 23, 2008

Was the lack of 3G iPhone a failure so far?

One of the most criticized aspect of the iPhone is the lack of 3G. That's like living in the city and someone telling you that you don't have a 4x drive or something. Ignoring fuel consumption is similar to ignoring battery life.

Yet Nokia headsets had 3G for quite some time now. Apple has stated its main reasons for omitting the 3G chip for now being battery performance and popularity. It quite remarkable by how much battery life the iPhone outperformed other the 3G phones with browsers. At the end of the day, what is more important to you? Having a fast phone or having a live phone?

I only have to look into the 3G/Edge coverage map in my country to see the logic behind Steve Jobs second argument, popularity. I basically have 3G only inside the major cities and not along the roads.

The EDGE coverage is complementary equal to that of GSM save for the mountains and sparsely populated areas. In practice i can have access to countless WiFi spots in the main cities. Too bad that most of them are locked.

Another good argument against 3G at the moment is the different standards of US and Europe, forcing companies like Nokia to develop region specific handsets.

iPhone EDGE on the other hand works everywhere in the world and does not affect your battery life as much.

A recent statistical survey show iPhone to claim over 70% of mobile browser usage in the US! Everybody else, including the 3G phones adds to less than 30%. Wow, it seams there was another barrier than a speed barrier to have the internet in your pocket. In Europe, the picture is different but iPhone still has the second place, not that far behind ALL of Nokia headsets put together, 3G and 3.5G included.

We all know the reason for these results: The phenomenal user interface and its reliable operation. The full Safari browser on the iPhone has actually shown to almost negate the speed advantage of other 3Gcellphones That's at least to a test shown on youtube and performed in Germany.

If ones think about it, the reason we actually wish for faster speeds on the iPhone is because the experience is so much like on a desktop that we forget that this is not one. With other headsets with clumsy web control, it more difficult to appreciate the extra speed of 3G.

So at thispoint I prefer to have a service I can use on the iPhone at all times without having to switch it off due to power consumption concerns, like the WiFi. Besides, imagine the monthly traffic and bills if you had such a capable internet device in your pocket. The prices are simply not there yet.

Was the lack of 3G a failure for the iPhone? Not at all. It was a well balanced choice made by Apple, reflecting the need of the fast majority of people. That is to have and iPhone that holds up to a day of heavy use.

No comments: