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Jobs: There 'might be' an advantage to a multi-carrier US iPhone

post #1 of 21
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Steve Jobs admitted Tuesday that there "might be" an advantage to having more than one carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., but stopped short of suggesting that such a move could happen anytime soon.

Jobs was questioned about the network performance of AT&T at the opening interview for the All Things D conference held Tuesday. While he said that AT&T is doing "pretty good" in improving its network, he also admitted that the exclusive wireless carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. "could do better" in other respects.

Jobs revealed that Apple and AT&T executives meet once a quarter to discuss issues. He also noted that AT&T deals with "way more data traffic than anyone else."

"They're having trouble," he conceded. "But they have the fastest 3G network and they're improving. I wish they were improving faster."

He said that if the iPhone were on any other network, that carrier would have experienced the same problems. Mossberg then asked Jobs directly if there would be advantages to having other carriers in the U.S., to which he cryptically responded, "there might be." But when pressed as to whether the iPhone would become available on other domestic carriers in the near future, Jobs said: "You know I can't comment on that."



Jobs also revealed that the iPhone OS started on a tablet first. He said he had an idea about a device with a glass, multi-touch display that users could type on. After six months, Apple's engineers and designers came back with an "amazing display," and one of the company's "brilliant UI guys" created some features like inertial scrolling. From there, Jobs said he realized Apple could create a phone with the technology, and put the idea of a tablet aside to create the iPhone.

post #2 of 21
They "might" also make more money. They might get on a service carrier which I wouldn't be winching when I make a call.

About time.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theobold View Post

They "might" also make more money. They might get on a service carrier which I wouldn't be winching when I make a call.

About time.

Interestingly Jobs said that AT&T handles more data than all of the other carriers combined. Being a NYC'er I have problems with AT&T as well. There really is no other solution than for it to be on multiple carriers to ease the stress.

BTW to all the disbelievers, Jobs just laid it out on the table. The iPad is the future of computing.

From Steve:

"You know... (long pause). I'm trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy."

"The PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it's changes, vested interests are going to change. And I think we've embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years..."

But there's something about it that's magical! I think we're just scratching the surface about the kind of apps you can build for it.

"Well, you can imagine all sorts of things for the iPad. Video editing, content creation..."
post #4 of 21
For now, unless WWDC reveals new carriers, jailbroken iPhones are the only way to get on T-Mobile.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Interestingly Jobs said that AT&T handles more data than all of the other carriers combined. Being a NYC'er I have problems with AT&T as well. There really is no other solution than for it to be on multiple carriers to ease the stress.

BTW to all the disbelievers, Jobs just laid it out on the table. The iPad is the future of computing.

I'm pretty sure he's not going to divulge any specifics about the company's direction on new products. Just let any other company try to copy iPad or the entire iTunes/App Store environment. They'll all flop.

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post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

For now, unless WWDC reveals new carriers, jailbroken iPhones are the only way to get on T-Mobile.

However since the iPhone does not support the 1700 MHz frequency band that T-Mobile uses for 3G data, you're limited to 2G speeds. If you can't get reliable AT&T 3G where you are I guess that's maybe a plus, at least sort of, but for most people? Not so much...
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Interestingly Jobs said that AT&T handles more data than all of the other carriers combined. Being a NYC'er I have problems with AT&T as well. There really is no other solution than for it to be on multiple carriers to ease the stress.

BTW to all the disbelievers, Jobs just laid it out on the table. The iPad is the future of computing.

From Steve:

"You know... (long pause). I'm trying to think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy."

"The PC has taken us a long way. They were amazing. But it's changes, vested interests are going to change. And I think we've embarked on that change. Is it the iPad? Who knows? Will it be next year or five years..."

But there's something about it that's magical! I think we're just scratching the surface about the kind of apps you can build for it.

"Well, you can imagine all sorts of things for the iPad. Video editing, content creation..."

Question: Do you still see trucks on the road today?

The iPad isn't the future (and Jobs didn't say it was), it is part of the future, and it's easy to see a future where families have one primary computer and several companion devices like the iPad. He expects the PC to have a diminished role, but still be present.
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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

Question: Do you still see trucks on the road today?

The iPad isn't the future (and Jobs didn't say it was), it is part of the future, and it's easy to see a future where families have one primary computer and several companion devices like the iPad. He expects the PC to have a diminished role, but still be present.

My take was that he thinks the definition of the "PC" will change as we march into the future. This I will have to agree with.

Like you, I believe that we will alway have some sort of desktop-like computer hanging around in our lives. Larger computers give you the power that smaller and mobile devices cannot match because of their size restrictions. The desktop will most likely become a central server-like device that sends content to all our viewing devices around the home/office. We will interact with that server through tablet, mobile phone, and TV type devices. Those devices are what will become our new definition of the "PC".
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post #9 of 21
I love how AT&T still doesn't have 3G on major parts of I-10
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by theobold View Post

They "might" also make more money. They might get on a service carrier which I wouldn't be winching when I make a call.

About time.

You tow things everytime you make a call? Does it help?
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

You tow things everytime you make a call? Does it help?

Good catch, I missed it, lol
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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerATO View Post

I love how AT&T still doesn't have 3G on major parts of I-10

Yep and I hate how Verizon refuses to wire my town for FIOS when we are 20 miles from NYC and every town east of us has all been wired. However thats the way the cable (or town) crumbles.

The plain and painfully simple fact it this... The US is H_U_G_E with a capital H and there's no way one lone carrier can be #1 in speed and reliability to all 200+ million of us. I could go on about frequency auctions, population density, deregulation, multi carrier competition, etc etc etc. The cold hard fact remains the same, some carriers will have a much more reliable service in AREA A and someone else will have the best service in AREA B... etc etc etc.

Example:

SF, CA - Verizon it MUCH better than AT&T and many of the podcasters I listen to podcast from SF and make it so VERY clear that the iPhone on AT&T is the WORST!

NY - I can't speak for the city but if you travel west about 10-15 miles the AT&T signal is fine and I know we've been able to call out when we are on the 9th floor of a midtown building where I have to go WAY more than I want to..

Anyway, pick a spot and SOMEBODY is gonna be GREAT and SOMEBODY is gonna SUCK these guys just can't have enough towers to cover 'everywhere' (especially since LOTS of town make it almost impossible to put them up anymore) and since those _crazy_ towns that are forced into allowing it all insist that any new tower erected has to look like a tree... I'm sure it's just that much MORE costly to get signals to the users.

Have you seen those STUPID towers...



Oh yea... that looks SO much better...

Tho I was looking at new versions and they've gotten better at making things look slightly more realistic.
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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Anyway, pick a spot and SOMEBODY is gonna be GREAT and SOMEBODY is gonna SUCK these guys just can't have enough towers to cover 'everywhere' (especially since LOTS of town make it almost impossible to put them up anymore) and since those _crazy_ towns that are forced into allowing it all insist that any new tower erected has to look like a tree... I'm sure it's just that much MORE costly to get signals to the users.

Have you seen those STUPID towers...



Oh yea... that looks SO much better...

Tho I was looking at new versions and they've gotten better at making things look slightly more realistic.

hahahah!
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Interestingly Jobs said that AT&T handles more data than all of the other carriers combined. Being a NYC'er I have problems with AT&T as well. There really is no other solution than for it to be on multiple carriers to ease the stress.

[/I]

Would be nice if AT&T improved their network. They have the cash, It's strange that they're not looking to improve it. Although Steve jobs said by the end of the summer the network would be better. he probably knows something we don't.

It's shameful that IPHONE users inNYC have to suffer.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


SF, CA - Verizon it MUCH better than AT&T and many of the podcasters I listen to podcast from SF and make it so VERY clear that the iPhone on AT&T is the WORST!

NY - I can't speak for the city but if you travel west about 10-15 miles the AT&T signal is fine and I know we've been able to call out when we are on the 9th floor of a midtown building...

There is only one solution for people with iPhones in NYC and SF... move.

The issue is not AT&T, there's no magic Verizon solution.

The problem is all those glass, concrete and metal buildings. You want better reception? Going to have to remove buildings, in SF also need to level out all those hills. Its a line-of-site from tower to device problem. It's the big city with lots of big pretty buildings - or- better cell bandwidth. I don't get the level of whining about this, you don't bring a yacht to Utah and expect great whale sightings. Lack of common sense or obliviousness to peripheral surroundings. Those building are all constructed in different ways, with lots of cell phone unfriendly materials, pack a bunch of structures together and you have an impossible situation.

Shouldn't be a surprise, being the beating pulse of technology has never typically been the focus of either SF or NYC, always last for the slick latest tech stuff. These are paper shuffling centers with glossy exteriors, restaurants, some clubs and a few fashion/art districts. The functional services of technology will always be second rate compared to areas with a moderate to high density of tech companies.

Maybe NYC and SF residents should pressure their buildings to install systems to fix these issues. It's no carrier's job to correct inherent design issues in commercial real estate, that's a request for your landlord. Enough bandwidth has been wasted scapegoating 'evil' AT&T and worshipping 'holy' Verizon (el cheapo, bottom feeder of the cell biz).
post #16 of 21
I think his most interesting quote here was
Quote:
when pressed as to whether the iPhone would become available on other domestic carriers in the near future, Jobs said: "You know I can't comment on that."

In the past, when asked about AT&T and exclusivity, Apple has usually been much more direct in saying they are with AT&T and have no current plans for changing that. To now say "no comment" seems to imply additional carriers is much higher on their list these days.

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post #17 of 21
I was in Tokyo when mobile data traffic started its boom. We had two years of dropped calls, unreliable connectivity, etc. But after the infrastructure caught up to the massive increase in demand, it was amazing... it ended up exceeding service pretty much everywhere else in the world except South Korea (who had started they're networks with the latest and greatest). So that when I came back to the states a few years ago, it felt like the stone age... AT&T has some way to go, but they've improved considerably in the past three years. Which, considering what we pay every month they damned well better!

I agree that if it had been any other carrier, the problems wouldn't be less. I also agree that carrier diversity would load-balance things a bit. Or there would be a "boom round 02" and everyone would end up oversold and unreliable.

On the topic of the iPad and the future... Mossberg mentioned the 'three categories', and I have to say, Jobs was right.

My iPhone fills its niche (phone, iPod, quick reference apps), the iPad is becoming my 'carry everywhere laptop lite", and I still use my macbook pro or mac pro for heavy lifting with apps like Ableton Live, Logic, Final Cut, or CS4 apps...

If I'm stepping out to do 'heavy lifting' work, I bring the laptop. But the iPad has replaced it for everything else.

I also use the iPad in tandem with the other computers. I use "midi control" apps on the iPad, so it becomes a touch-screen remote for audio mixing, sound control, etc. Very cool!

In the future, when those truly combine into a single, lightweight portable device, I'll be happy to have only one device instead of two, so long as it accommodates my needs... until then I will continue to enjoy the versatility of these various form factors...
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

Would be nice if AT&T improved their network. They have the cash, It's strange that they're not looking to improve it. Although Steve jobs said by the end of the summer the network would be better. he probably knows something we don't.

AT&T is spending BILLIONS of dollars on their network. It's a race where demand is increasing exponentially and AT&T is trying to get ahead of the game.

It's really sad how people think they can just sit in their chairs and whine about AT&T not doing anything - without even the least understanding of the scope of the problem.
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

AT&T is spending BILLIONS of dollars on their network. It's a race where demand is increasing exponentially and AT&T is trying to get ahead of the game.

It's really sad how people think they can just sit in their chairs and whine about AT&T not doing anything - without even the least understanding of the scope of the problem.

AT&T can shove those upgrades until they add 3G to most of I-10. I find it very sad that both Verizon and Sprint have had I-10 covered with 3G for a few years now.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerATO View Post

AT&T can shove those upgrades until they add 3G to most of I-10. I find it very sad that both Verizon and Sprint have had I-10 covered with 3G for a few years now.

Then the people who drive I-70 will bitch. You can't upgrade the whole country at once, as was stated earlier the US is huge. Even if AT&T wanted to upgrade everyone at once, they still wouldn't be able to it. There are not enough knowledgeable technicians and engineers to do the work, nor are there enough materials for them to install. It takes time to push a change across this large country of ours. Time for the suppliers to build the needed materials and time for the experienced workers to move from one site to another. This means that some sites gets things earlier than others. Hell, my area didn't get seven digit dialing until 1980.
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post #21 of 21
Sprint might be a better fit for Apple. Verizon is too Android all the time and Sprint can't afford to only have Android handsets. RIM won't help much nor will Win 7. HP is killing Palm phones so their only option is Apple.
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