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Piper: 3G iPhone changes will not be dramatic

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue May 20, 2008

Piper on 3G iPhone changes

People should not expect the first 3G iPhone to be radically different from the current 2.5G model, write analysts from Piper Jaffray. The firm says it believes that 3G will be the only major difference between the two editions, despite suggestions elsewhere of components such as GPS. This is not ruled out, but it is believed that differences beyond 3G will mostly be cosmetic, such as a new faceplate and increased thickness, the latter attributable to a bigger chipset needed for 3G.

The same is true of the software, as the v2.0 firmware will available for current iPhones as well, giving both devices access to native applications. Apple may however enable some features on 3G phones that are otherwise impractical, such as cellular access to the iTunes Store. 2.5G phones can only access the store through Wi-Fi.

Piper says it once again expects the 3G iPhone to be announced on June 9th at WWDC, but that the device may ship as soon as mid-June, creating a lucrative surge of sales before the end of the third quarter. 3G technology is expected to add between $12 to $18 to the manufacturing cost of each iPhone.

by MacNN Staff




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  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3G Fud

    I don't know why I bother asking whether Apple will ever come clean about all the 3G FUD, lower battery life and larger chip-sets...hogwash! Taken a look at the mobile phones in Europe where 3G is commonplace? They're not lugging bricks around and spare batteries. Face it, Edge was a lousy way to introduce the iPhone, particularly outside the U.S. as sales (or the lack of them) have illustrated. Edge was a mistake! Steve made a mistake! Apple made a mistake. Pure and simple. I guess maybe three or more years ago when the iPhone research and development cycle began, blessed Steve's crystal ball was a bit cloudy over the whole 3G thing. Dammit if he's no more of a visionary than Steve Ballmer.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple's fault?

    No it's America's fault. America is so far behind in cell technology that it's upgrading to 3G as the rest of the world laughs while upgrading to 4G. Apple did the best it could with the pathetic technology available to it. I travel the world, and every time I come home it's like I've stepped back into the technological dark ages.

  1. lepton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    GPS yes

    I do expect GPS. The CPU chip they are using supports a companion low power GPS chip. The 911 system will be enhanced in many locales by it. Google Maps and, oh, about a ZILLION upcoming apps, including one of mine, are using the locational functions built into the iPhone OS and all will be enhanced. Finally, I want it, because Google Maps currently has my location off by about 1.5 miles! I expect little else new in hardware, but TONS of new software stuff for both old and new phones. The OS is loaded to the brim with development goodness that is untapped - but will be, real soon now.

  1. jmelrose

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Rather than yell at Apple, perhaps yell at ATT for making the mistake of not having a widely available 3G network for the iPhone to access. Perhaps Steve was being gracious and not pointing fingers at its new business partner for not having the most up-to-date network technology.

    Besides, they sold plenty of phones and now they'll sell plenty more with a pretty modest update (as far as the internals). I'd say if there were that many buyers, the crystal ball issue lies with the buyers who bought and didn't think 3G would ever be an option.

    I'm not a Steve apologist, really, I just hate seeing fingers pointed and blame cast by those not thinking through where the blame should rest. Or maybe you're just a troll.

    Either way, if Edge was a mistake, it was ATT's mistake. If they'd had the new network ready and widespread a year ago, I wager we'd have seen the 3G then too.

  1. pysan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Even if it was a mistake Apple made, do you expect them to stop and announce that "We made a mistake, and now will be fixing it by releasing a new version." That's not exactly a way to wow the crowds.

    Rather, you would do what they are doing, which is drumming up hype for the new one, as if nothing else existed. That is the marketer's way, which Steve is a master marketer.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Quite amusing...

    The original poster here seems to be talking about some other iPhone, not the Apple's first-generation iPhone. Sales of this iPhone (the first-generation, made by Apple) shattered all records, at home, AS WELL as abroad. I would say, this pretty much validates the decision to go with EDGE. And on the other point of lugging bricks, again, our original poster must be on another planet, 'cause here on earth, identical phones that support 3G are thicker and larger than models with "2.5"G support.

    The change between iPhone v1 and iPhone v2 will be dramatic when the new software becomes available. The original iPhone owners will be able to take advantage of that change (probably for $20). And most importantly, large part of the global population (some 10% of it) will finally be able to purchase one.

  1. Elektrix

    Joined: Dec 1969



    if battery life issues with 3g are such a myth, why is it that when I bought my AT&T Tilt (HTC 8925 or Kaiser), one of the biggest things I found on the forums for this device was people looking for instructions on disabling the 3G radio and falling back to EDGE only because of the poor battery life with 3G exclusively?

    3G and battery life have been a concern for plenty of devices, and there's a reason you still see plenty of people who will disable 3G to preserve battery life. And there's a reason even the updated iPhone has an option to disable 3G.

    I will certainly admit though that it wouldn't have really hurt anything to launch the iPhone with 3G and the option to disable 3G, even if that 3G chipset was inferior, as it still of course would have given options over EDGE-only.

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3G is battery hog

    I have dual GSM and UMTS phones. V800 and N80 (and now N95). I used the V800 and N80 is Japan on UMTS (3G) as the rest of the world implements 3G. My phone's battery life on 3G was about 1/3 of the same phone at home in the US on the standard GSM networks.

    If you look at any of the European 3G phones, their estimated battery life as given by the manufacturer is always less when on UMTS than on GSM (2/2.5G).

    It is not a myth.

    Some recent reports also show that the HSPDA or whatever it is called, the "ATT" 3G, is faster than UMTS as implemented by other countries. So much for being so far behind technically.

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