The first generation iPhone is barely on the streets, but some users and analysts are already talking about when a second-generation model will be launched to take advantage of faster 3G wireless network speeds for speedier internet browsing.
The first version of iPhone supports AT&T's EDGE - Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution - network, a 2.5G network advertised as providing download speeds of 70Kbit/sec to 135Kbit/sec. AT&T and Apple chose that network because it is the largest network, reaching 270 million people, company officials said last week.
However, several analysts and reviewers believe that the next-generation iPhone, which could ship early next year in the US, will be provisioned to handle a faster 3G network, such as AT&T's High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), to support download speeds of 400Kbit/sec to 700Kbit/sec. However, AT&T and Apple would not comment Thursday on their plans or a timetable for iPhone 2.0 or AT&T's HSDPA.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel stressed that "HSDPA is available in 160 metro areas and AT&T will continue to build it out through the rest of the year, so obviously we're continuing to build 3G."
But Siegel also repeated comments made last week that iPhone users will accept the slower EDGE speeds, especially since the iPhone can access faster Wi-Fi networks when a hotspot is available at home or a coffee shop. "We haven't had many complaints about EDGE," he said. "What really matters for a real human being using the iPhone who doesn't know anything about EDGE is that this is going to be a great experience in totality, whether searching for a stock quote or a map or many other things. We think overwhelmingly that people will be thrilled using this device. The experience they have on EDGE will be a really good one."
Siegel's comments, however, don't match user consternation about EDGE speeds registered at the MacRumors forums, or concerns raised by some reviewers, including one who said it took two minutes to download the Yahoo website home page.
The discussion thread at MacRumors asked people to post their EDGE speeds over iPhone using a network measuring tool. Some reported speeds were higher than those advertised by AT&T, but most were slower, with 64Kbit/sec on July 3 in San Diego and 71Kbit/sec in Los Angeles that same day. “Boooooo!” is the only comment from the San Diego user identified as FreeState. GnarleyMarley87 in Atlanta reported 126Kbit/sec in Atlanta on EDGE, but 1,245 Kbit/sec over Wi-Fi at home.