This year did not disappoint.
The Cupertino-based company announced a new iPhone series, the iPhone 3G S. It also announced a new operating system that will add or upgrade many features for users of the existing iPhone OS.
For iPhone ethusiasts, this is a big step forward. Apple has heeded the call of users and developers and added or improved many features that they have been clamoring for since the release of the iPhone 3G last June - or even since iPhone v1.
What Apple didn't do was address the many shortcomings of the AT&T service that iPhone users are required to sign up for in the US. To begin with, most current iPhone 3G owners won't be able to even buy the new phone for a while. AT&T won't allow current iPhone 3G owners to upgrade their phones until they have been with the company for enough time to justify giving them another discount. Which, I admit, does make sense, but it's annoying and likely to alienate current owners.
AT&T has also refused to allow its users to use the tethering feature of the new iPhone OS. Presumably, this is to prevent further load on its already woefully inadequate digital network, but this doesn't make much sense to me since the iPhone version of Safari already downloads full versions of websites.
AT&T is also delaying the rollout of its support for the MMS feature of the new software until late summer.
The "S" in iPhone 3G S stands for "Speed," apparently, and the new phones don't disappoint. They boast compatibility with 7.2 HSPA, the updated 3G network. The only problem? AT&T won't complete its rollout of 7.2 HSPA until 2011.
AT&T's service plan is also more expensive than comparable service plans from other providers.
I also get better reception and Internet speeds in Hawaii than I do in San Francisco, one of the technology capitals of the universe, which struck me as quite ironic. Nothing against Hawaii, and kudos for having damn good mobile data speed, but c'mon, it's San Francisco!
Check out this previous post for another ironic example of my ongoing frustration with AT&T's network.
The goodwill that AT&T hoped to get from its exclusive right to the iPhone is rapidly dwindling. Apple might start to lose customers it would otherwise attract because of AT&T's high prices and poor performance. Hopefully the parties will end the relationship soon, or at least let Verizon offer a version of the iPhone on its network.