Originally Posted by shamino
Another person (on a different forum) made a similar comment. He pointed out that today's phones are CPU-bound, not bandwidth-bound.
Actually, I was referring to EVDO vs UMTS/HSDPA, speed-wise.
He said that his 3G phone doesn't perform much differently when moving between 2G and 3G regions. When he uses a wireless card in his laptop computer, however, there is a world of difference.
That may also be a phenomenon of your typical cellphone's 'baby Internet' implementation (as Jobs likes to call it) vs the 'real Internet' you get on a laptop.
But the iPhone also is trying to have a 'real Internet' user experience, as it runs a 'real' web browser and has a very large (for a cellphone) screen. Given that, you'd want 3G on the iPhone, if at all possible.
This may be why Apple has chosen to stick with EDGE and not adopt 3G. If the phone doesn't have the CPU power to take advantage of the extra bandwidth, then it may be better to not use it at all. 3G would increase the cost of the phone and use firmware that doesn't have as much real-world field testing.
I'm reminded of a comment from General Motors several years ago regarding their OnStar system. Their FAQ had a question asking why it uses A-band instead of a modern digital system (like GSM or CDMA). Their answer was that A-band has the broadest coverage (all carriers support it as a fall-back system), that battery life isn't a problem when it's powered by your car's electrical system, and they use a strong 5W transmitter to get sufficient range and signal strength.
Yeah, analog does have great coverage, and importantly, it has that coverage in exactly the very worst areas for your car to break down (i.e. way out in the boondocks).
Though sadly, the major carriers are looking for ways to shut down their analog networks once the federal mandate runs out in 2008. If Onstar is forced to transition to digital at some point, it won't be nearly as effective way out in the countryside, as there are some areas that are so remote as to not warrant digital coverage, apparently.
In other words, GM chose the technology best for their application, even though the phone industry had moved on to newer technologies (which are better for handsets.)
The iPhone may be something similar. I agree that the lack of 3G seems problematic right now, but it may end up not being that much of a problem in actual practice. The broader coverage of EDGE may be more important than 3G's higher bandwidth.
That's pretty much what I've been saying all along... that coverage issues forced iPhone 1.0 to go with EDGE.
However, given the iPhone's rich internet experience, Apple will want to release a 3G iPhone ASAP, i.e. as soon as ATT's 3G coverage is up to it. EDGE is nothing more than a stopgap measure. It will be noticeably slow on the iPhone.