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Next iPhone to carry faster 3G?

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri March 20, 2009

Faster 3G on Next iPhone

Apple's next iPhone should have improved Internet access, SAI claims. A "plugged-in" tipster in the cellular business has told the publication that a "significantly faster" connection will be part of the update without mentioning other details. It's not known whether the unnamed insider is alluding to the cellular access or to Wi-Fi, either of which is potentially upgradeable with the update.

However, the most likely change is the addition of support for speed-doubled 7.2Mbps 3G given both hardware manufacturer and carrier plans. Infineon should have a new 3G chipset starting from mid-year that would support the faster speeds while also improving battery life. At the same time, AT&T has been trialing 7.2Mbps 3G since late 2008 and should roll out the speedier service this year. The provider has stressed that many of its cell towers can be upgraded solely through software rather than new equipment.

Current iPhones are limited in hardware to 3.6Mbps 3G and couldn't themselves be upgraded.

If Wi-Fi is improved, a potential candidate is a new Broadcom 802.11 chipset that would provide real Wi-Fi speeds of up to 50Mbps (versus 25Mbps for typical 802.11g) in addition to Bluetooth with support for wireless stereo audio.

by MacNN Staff



  1. snork

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Faster 3G would be nice, but it's really up to AT&T here in the US. I'm fortunate to live in North NJ and work in Westchester, NY where we have excellent 3G coverage. I live on top of a hill and can litterally see the cell tower out my window. With a full 5 bars on my phone, the best I've managed is about 1.5Mbps. Definitely not shabby for a phone, but AT&T obviously still has some work to do just to get to the current 3.6Mbps that is theoretically possible.

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me 3.6 Mbps

    Exactly. 3.6 Mbps actually delivered would be nice. If faster phones drive upgrading the tower system that would be a good thing.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Just a suggestion to Apple. Don't advertise the next iPhone as being 'twice as fast' as the current model. Save yourself the lawyer fees from the 409 lawsuits (I know, I know, Apple probably has lawyers on retainer, but still....)

  1. fubar_this

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Latency still dominates

    The improved speeds will be nice, but latency is still what dominates Web browsing speeds. A typical Web page consists of 10-20 resource downloads. When the typical connection takes 250ms to establish, Web browsing can be more affected by latency then download speeds since many resources can be contained in a single IP packet. I'd really like to see more work done on the latency front, as often times the initial browse to a Web site takes far longer than downloading.

    This isn't limited to AT&T btw--no wireless carrier has improved latency speeds beyond the typical 1/4th second (250ms) and even that is not always possible unless under ideal conditions. To compare, Ethernet latency is around 5-10ms on a local network or 10-20ms on the general Internet. WiFi is a little worse.

    SierraDragon: everybody always uses theoretical speeds for marketing purposes. Actual speeds are very hard to determine because they can be affected by distance from tower, number of people using the tower, location of buildings, certain building materials like paints and shieldings, and even humidity and weather. Even wired connections use "theoretical speeds" like USB's 480 Mbps theoretical (actual is around 400mbps). It's likely with the upgrade to 7.2Mbps next gen phoneswill get around 5Mbps.

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