3G iPhone: ‘You’ll Have It Next Year’

November 30th, 2007 - 1:04 am ICT by admin  

This was surely not how Steve Jobs intended to announce the monumental news that an iPhone capable of running on 3G networks would be available. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson didn’t even say, “oh and one more thing” before leaking the news.

Speaking to reporters in Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, Stephenson responded to a question about a 3G iPhone. But instead of vague assurances or deferring to Apple, the CEO of the No. 1 carrier said, “You’ll have it next year,” Bloomberg reported.

At least he didn’t talk price or get more specific about timing. Jobs “will dictate what the price of the phone is,” he said.

Stealing Jobs’ Thunder

Since the iPhone launched in June, many consumers have complained that AT&T’s EDGE network makes Web browsing on the phone a painfully slow experience. An iPhone that runs on the fast 3G network would be substantially more attractive as an Internet device. Even so, Apple has sold 1.5 million iPhones.

Will the news of a 3G iPhone cause would-be buyers to hold off? Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said any procrastinators wouldn’t be “enough to make a difference.”

But the slowness of the EDGE network, along with the lack of a hardware keyboard, has been “the big complaint,” Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Marketing Intelligence, said in a telephone interview.

“The timing of this may be regrettable from Apple’s point of view,” he said. By addressing the issue, Stephenson “may cause some number of people to wait” on buying an iPhone. On the other hand, the news may push some interested buyers to purchase now.

Asserting Control?

How likely is it that the CEO of one of the U.S.’s biggest companies just slipped up? Sterling speculated that Stephenson might have been “trying to assert some measure of control over this device.”

While AT&T…

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