Why Is the iPhone Slow?

Apparently not content with their carefully planned marketing and seeding of the iPhone hype machine, the heads of both Apple and AT&T have been doing something they hate doing: talking to reporters and making excuses.

The issue that so concerns Apple's Steve Jobs and AT&T's Randall Stephenson is the somewhat deceptive nature of Apple's TV ad campaign. It shows an iPhone quickly switching between Web pages, something that is not possible on the phone…unless it is connected to a stationary Wi-Fi network with its own high-speed Internet connection.

At issue is the fact that the iPhone can only use AT&T's slower EDGE data network and not its much faster HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) network. The carrier has been touting the HSDPA network like mad, but to defend the iPhone, AT&T is suddenly bending over backwards to dismiss its own faster network saying that the new high-speed access isn't available in many markets.

The execs have also offered other strange excuses that smack of TP. To wit, Jobs says that putting HSDPA support into the phone created a power drain. However, it is well known that Wi-Fi is a major power drain in mobile devices, and the iPhone supports Wi-Fi.

So what is the real reason for the iPhone's slow Internet access? The truth may be much simpler. A representative for a global cell phone maker recently was showing me their new product line when I asked if the phones would support HSDPA. The answer was, no. According the spokesperon, all of the phone makers have been having a difficult time making their phones work with AT&T's implementation of HSDPA. So given the tight time frame for the iPhone launch, the truth may simply be that Apple couldn't get the higher speed data access working in time.

Now doesn't that sound more likely? (And it didn't hurt a bit.)


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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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5 Responses to Why Is the iPhone Slow?

  1. grantalias says:

    Good news getting on the tech explore page. These are good points. But they were all made before the 3G iPhone (which still has many of the same issues as the older edge version.)What I'm wondering is why VOX did they feature it almost two years after you posted it? It would have been more timely to feature it when you posted it.Maybe you should do an "additional" revision at the bottom of the post to take into account recent events.:-)

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