Talking tech since 2003

On Monday, Apple is expected to release the 4.01 version of its iOS mobile operating system, previously known as the iPhone OS. The purpose of this update is to fix an issue that caused iPhone (both the recently released iPhone 4 and the now “legacy” iPhone 3G and 3GS) to decrease signal performance when the device was held snugly or tightly. This is a concept that Jeff pointed out in a YouTube video on the first day that iPhone 4’s had begun to be delivered to those who opted for home-delivery.

Personally, I am glad to see that Apple was able to evaluate and fix the issue in such a minimal amount of time, and am impressed with their dedication to making the iPhone a stable and usable device. However, had Apple not fixed this issue, many people, myself included, would have simply attributed the performance issues to have been an issue with the carrier of the iPhone; AT&T. This raises the question, is AT&T the scapegoat for all of the problems with the iPhone?

I don’t think that there is anyone who would disagree that the AT&T is looked down upon by many iPhone users and people who keep themselves up-to-date with technology news. The company’s image is not at all helped by Verizon, who has in recent months started an all-out campaign against AT&T, portraying the wireless provider as having a slow and unreliable network. But, the fact of the matter may be that AT&T is not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, and that the problems that occur with the iPhone may not be entirely their fault.

Think about it. If you’ve ever used two separate phones on the same carrier, you know that the phone itself plays a significant role in the overall performance. For example, many Blackberry users attribute a lack of call quality with the handheld itself, and not the network that the device is on. Because of this, one really has to sit back and ask themselves if the Verizon network would handle the iPhone any better than the AT&T network, and if the underlying problems that people complain about may be with the phone itself.

Potential hardware and software issues aside, you have to consider how powerful of a device the iPhone is. When the fourth generation iPhone was unveiled at WWDC, one of the taglines for the product was “This changes everything. Again.” Having said this, one has to consider that the iPhone is easy to use, and ultimately makes it easy for the end-user to engage themselves in activities that take up high levels of bandwidth. When you multiply the bandwidth that the iPhone uses by the number of millions of iPhone users who are using their devices at any given moment, the fact of the matter is that the levels of bandwidth used are high enough to stress any mobile network. Simply put, I don’t feel that there is any mobile network – AT&T or otherwise – who is currently able to handle the sheer volume of traffic that is generated from the data-intensive iPhone, because the technology in the device is newer than the technology in the current mobile networks.

Because of this, while many people think that iPhone users would be better off if Verizon was the exclusive carrier, the truth is that if that were the case, Verizon would likely be in the same place as AT&T right now, and with the tables turned, people would want the iPhone to move to the AT&T network. Does this mean that I think the iPhone shouldn’t be on the Verizon network as well? Absolutely not. Allowing current iPhone/AT&T users to switch to the Verizon network (or any mobile network for that matter) would alleviate the stress that is currently being put on the AT&T network, and would allow users to use the phone on less congested networks.

Are you an iPhone user? Would you like to see the iPhone made available on more mobile networks? Let us know in the comments, or in the chat-room.

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