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11/29/2007
09:52 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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AT&T CEO Says 3G iPhone Will Be Available Next Year

The 3G iPhone has been naught but a rumor until AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson opened his mouth recently and spilled the beans. Oh, how Steve Jobs must be fuming right now. All Stephenson would commit to is "next year", but that's enough for many.

The 3G iPhone has been naught but a rumor until AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson opened his mouth recently and spilled the beans. Oh, how Steve Jobs must be fuming right now. All Stephenson would commit to is "next year", but that's enough for many.Though the iPhone has been a good seller since its June 29 debut, there are many who have decided against purchasing it because it is limited to EDGE data networks and can't access faster 3G wireless data speeds. Looks like they won't have to wait too much longer before a 3G version of the iPhone becomes available.

At a meeting in California, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told reporters that a 3G version will be available next year. He also said that he couldn't say exactly when it will be available, or how much more it will cost than the current version of the iPhone, which sells for $399.

Combining 3G data speeds with a device that can run third-party applications will likely make 2008 a banner year for the iPhone. The SDK for the iPhone will be released in February, and we'll probably have more details come MacWorld in January. Whether or not Jobs will use that event to launch the next version of the iPhone is unknown, but it isn't beyond reason.

Some suggest that the reason the iPhone isn't widely available across Europe is because it isn't 3G. Spain's Telefonica, for example, has reportedly held off on releasing the iPhone until it is 3G enabled because it has only GPRS and HSPA networks running. GPRS is slower than EDGE, and makes for a poor experience.

According to analysts, the number of people who put off buying an iPhone now to wait for a 3G one won't affect immediate iPhone sales too much. With nearly 1.5 million of them already sold, Jobs' original goal of selling 10 million of the converged devices by the end of 2008 is certainly looking like more of a reality.

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