I'm shocked to hear that AT&T is not showering Apple's execs with expensive champagne and corporate jets every chance they get!
That's a little over the top. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are all still in business without the iPhone and AT&T was a very large carrier before they had the iPhone. AT&T would probably be doing worse than they are now without the iPhone but I seriously doubt they'd be going out of business. I'd go so far as to say that AT&T's reputation would be somewhat better without the iPhone since it seems like most of their network problems were caused because of the demands that the iPhone created.
The biggest shakeup in the wireless industry will happen when Apple moves forward and releases devices that work on other wireless carriers. Example: if a Verizon Iphone actually hits the market, the shift will be enormous. I suggest it would be a tectonic shift in the wireless industry's provider business.
Losing the iPhone exclusivity might actually end up being good for AT&T. One possible mechanism to explain that:
- All their high usage, low profit (and vocal) iPhone customers go to Verizon.
- Their generally oblivious, high ARPU, low usage customers don't bother to switch... especially since their service will be much better after the high usage people leave.
- Their high-profit business customers get happier since they get the benefit of all the iPhone-driven network upgrades without actually having all those iPhones around to kill the network.
- They get a chance to throw marketing money at pulling in Android customers, which right now has a higher volume and better terms for carriers (better share of revenue, lower handset subsidy) than the iPhone anyway.
Of course it could also end up being awful for AT&T. Or it could wind up being generally neutral. Certainly losing exclusivity in the UK doesn't seem to have killed off O2.
To get a 'tectonic shift' I think it would be necessary for Apple to start selling unlocked, cross-network devices only with no subsidized options. But they have shown no desire to do that to date - they pretty much had to be forced to do so in the parts of the EU where it's a legal requirement.
That's not necessarily a good thing. Where the leaders of tech go, others tend to follow. Especially since in-network calling saves you on minutes.
The same is true of minute bundles. Users which go a lot over (and pay per minute) are fine, users which are a lot under (and still pay for the bundle) are fine. Users who are averaging use of 80-120% will probably be costing the provider more than they pay.
On Sprint and T-Mobile, yeah, we have unlimited data plans.
If Verizon were to offer the iPhone, a lot of the AT&T users with unlimited plans who are using a ton of bandwidth would jump to Verizon, and, if they were to try to return to AT&T, wouldn't be able to obtain an unlimited plan.
To use a non-#attfail example: The little microwave ISP I use in a rural area gives me 10mbps, but they don't have enough backhaul to support that kind of bit rate in a sustained manner. If I start to watch a YouTube video at a better-than-awful bit encoding the first 10 seconds or so are great, then the routers notice my connection being a pig and fair-queueing or whatever mechanism they are using lowers my allowed bit rate to unwatchable levels.
I have a negative impression of YouTube watching because of my ISP. It is only because I have had experiences on other ISPs first that I don't associate this with YouTube or my browser.
Apple knows better than to let Facetime get a reputation as choppy, unreliable, or generally flakey, which it would on AT&T's network.
Your post: "[T]he probability of a negative user experience is too high on AT&T's network ... Apple knows better than to let Facetime get a [bad] reputation[.]" Message: Apple solves user experience problems by restricting features, and this is a good thing.
This is of course in contrast to Apple's usual product design approach, which is to solve user experience problems by removing or restricting features?
Either that, or my ISP is packet-sniffing and throttling video, which seems unlikely since e.g. BBC and ITV can stream fine.
All of the features you mention are so bandwidth-intensive, that the user experience for them would be non-existant. FaceTime simply wouldn't work on a typical AT&T connection. Even YouTube via 3G is painfully slow now, when it works at all. Add a couple of people downloading 1.5GB movies, and the network would grind to a halt.
If AT&T won the battles, it may have been more due to lack of suitable infrastructure, than to telling Apple not to implement something.
I live where AT&T has no 3G (only EDGE). The microwave backhaul link speeds are documented in the FCC database (service type CM). Where I see Alltel (now Verizon) having a link speed of 133Mbps, a similar nearby AT&T link is in the 27-40 Mbps range. Obviously AT&T doesn't have a use for the higher backhaul rate, because they have not upgraded to 3G yet.
Does anyone have decent bandwidth utilization numbers for Facetime ?
Intl roaming is quite prevalent in places like Europe so it seems well possible that related sensibilities may also be informing these decisions.
I'm no Daring Fireball fanboy (the 1st derivative of an Apple fanboy?) but there is sometimes value in aggregation and summarization.
What do you think of http://kottke.org ?
* Catchier headline.
* Short attention spans mean excerpts are more highly valued on HN (despite lack of context, such as bugs in the original baseband, as pointed out by cligner below).
1. DF sneezes and get's hits.
2. Linkbait headline.
3. Shorter post means people are back here faster and will remember to upvote. Wired article is longer, much better, and by the time you are done, you forget to upvote.
I have the nexus one, running on att 3g - the same similar card I used to use in my iPhone 3g. A co-worker just got the iPhone 4.
We both picked up the FCC bandwidth test app.
Testing each phone in succession - not simultaneously - in the same spot, hands free, flat on the desk.
My N1 consistently benchmarked at 2-2.5 mbps down and 1mbps up with a 200ms ping.
His iPhone consistently benchmarked at 1-1.5 mbps down, .2-.4 mbps up, and a 2000ms ping.
Either there truly are antenna issues unrelated to the hand-holding-bars-dropped issue, or the I/O processor cannot handle high speeds, or Apple is throttling bandwidth usage based on geolocation. I don't know which it is
Another coworker tested his bandwidth in Vancouver and got over 10mbps.
These tests were performed in Soho. Your miles may vary...
"They complain that Apple hasn’t accepted its fair share of the blame. They say — and Apple sources confirm — that the software running the iPhone’s main radio, known as the baseband, was full of bugs and contributed to the much-decried dropped calls. What’s more, Apple had chosen to source the radio from Infineon, whose hardware was used widely in Europe but rarely in the US, where cell towers are placed farther apart and reception is therefore less forgiving."
I get 3 Mbps / 1.5 Mbps in SoHo and the Village.
Activation would seem to be a binary, not gradient, issue..
In my friend's case, for example, his data speeds were incredibly low, and he was unable to log onto the 3G Microcell base stations.
I suspect AT&T has custom settings on their end for particular classes of devices, and haven't matched those settings correctly. Could be as simple as not matching the IMEI number, or could be enabling HSDPA/HSUPA, I don't know.
But for me, him, and a couple others, AT&T had to push a reset (phone screen shows an unusual "Ok to power off" type message you only see if they push settings and a reset), and afterwards, speeds shot through the roof.
Here's a link:
“We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”
— Steve Jobs (or a representative thereof, the citation is a little unclear), incredibly rich establishment capitalist businessman, on fighting in 2010 the anti-establishment battles of 1965. Because you know what the problem is? Suits.
Really? As far as I understand, the AT&T data network still sucks.
Of course, you could make the case that Apple is run by one person, and he didn't even graduate college.
So everyone in the business management or legal side of Apple has an MBA or JD? Go figure...
Actually, that is significant. I studied undergraduate business and I can tell right away the difference between an MBA-run business and non-MBA-run type business. People with MBA's have a broad base of case studies, so they know how to handle some eccentric but important situations pretty well, but they tend to like formality, business plans, marketing plans instead of "screw it, let's mess around and see what happens" - not sure what the ratio of MBA to non-MBA in Google management is, but Google seems very much like a non-MBA culture. In fact, their CEO Schmidt has degrees in engineering and computer science. They probably have MBA-type people running Adwords, though, you'd almost have to.
Edit: chillingeffects.org and dataliberation.org are backed by Google, which is very much more a hacker ethos than an MBA ethos type move.
So that's 7 out of 12 of the top execs who have no MBA or JD.
(Also, most of my friends in management at Apple don't have MBAs. If they do get master's degrees, it's usually for the pay grade bump it gives. More anecdotally, I know at least 50 people in middle management at Apple without MBAs.)
Nobody at Apple thinks it's worth the bother and loss of privacy. And I guarantee Apple isn't the only company that thinks that way.
Eh, Thinking about it again, I'd rather work at Apple
Counterculture versus The Man.
Flippant startup versus entrenched corporation.
Think different versus rethink possible.
And a bunch of hacker newsers get all excited about a quote about dressing nice.
I love the irony of counterculture groupthink. "we are apple, we don't even own suits." They should finish that with a "we are legion" reference.
For what it’s worth, the dramatic quote is attributed to “one of Jobs’ deputies,” rather than Steve himself.
That's a pretty long time.
To me it seems likely that they have CDMA iPhones "just in case" as well.
And purely in hindsight, was that a good decision?
Gruber is nothing but a hack who's trying to glorify Apple in every way.
1) AT&T wants to cripple features and sacrifice customer experience because it won't invest in it's network fast enough
2) AT&T wants Steve Jobs to wear a suit to meet with it's board of directors. Not only is this something that AT&T seemingly desires, but it needs to have a deputy arrange and suggest the clothing choices of executives before they meet.
So on one side: a company that sacrifices customer experience and makes inane suggestions about clothing suggestions, because appearance matters.
On the other side: a company that releases some bugs in some of it's software.
You pick which is more indicative of an overall company culture. Perhaps Apple seems hard to work with when you come from an aging bureaucracy and an old way of doing business. I can understand how some people might find fighting for the customer and for good products "hard to work with".
Alternately, AT&T makes mass-market products, and wants to insure a baseline level of usability for everyone, while Apple makes products aimed at the top 10%, and wants the absolute best user experience possible without regard for scalability.
Don't get me wrong, AT&T's network needs work, but I don't think that this sort of design philosophy can necessarily work if all handsets are designed to be 'selfish.' It only works if the expensive handsets/plans are allowed to do that sort of thing.