updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue September 18, 2007
Jobs, UK cell carrier Q&A
Apple on Tuesday said that battery life was the main reason for the delay behind a faster 3G version of the iPhone and that it is not expected to be released in near future. Following the announcement of the UK iPhone deal with O2, Apple chief Steve Jobs and a representative of UK cellular carrier O2 agreed to a Q&A session during Apple's special event at the Regent Street store in London. Jobs said the faster third-generation ("3G") wireless technology will come to iPhone once the company can maintain at least five or more hours of battery life, countering recent claims by analysts, The industry has been waiting for faster mobile connectivity, as many have lamented the speeds of the woefully slow AT&T EDGE network.
Jobs said that limited battery of the 3G chip sets would severely restrict use of the phone and that Apple's 8-hour battery life was designed to allow users the freedom to use their phone's internet and music services without thinking of battery life.
"The 3G chipsets that are available to semiconductors work reasonably well except for power. They are real power hogs," he told the audience. "So as you know, the handset battery life used to be 5-6 hours for GSM, but when we got to 3G they got cut in half. Most 3G phones have battery lives of 2-3 hours [of talk time]."
While Jobs believes that the battery life will increase to that level, he said that users may not see that until "late next year."
In addition, the Q&A revealed that the bundled WiFi service for UK/O2 customers will be powered by Cloud.
Apple's boss also suggested that the iTunes-Starbucks deal could migrate overseas but that the decision rests in the hands of the coffee company.
Interestingly, the session also revealed that contract length and usage limits in the UK will stand at 18 month contracts with a limit of 1,400 pages per day. Confirming earlier reports, O2 is investing in EDGE technology and currently has 30 percent coverage, according to SlashGear.
Jobs also admitted that Apple is already working on the next two versions of the iPhone, and says he hasn't planned any more iPhone price cuts -- after the recent controversy over the $200 price drop that some believed was staged -- but warned that it's technology, reaffirming statements made in his apology letter to early adopters.