3G iPhone On Track For Next Year

iphoneworld1.pngIn remarks at the Churchill Club, AT&T’s CEO confirmed what most Apple-watchers have been suspecting: a 3G iPhone will come out next year. Sounds like they fixed that battery-drain problem. Hopefully, these things won’t start exploding like those laptops a year ago.

Mike makes fun of me for toting around a Blackberry, but I’d rather wait for the 3G version of the iPhone to come out before thinking about switching. AT&T’s slow-as-molasses EDGE data network cripples the current iPhone (IMHO). The WiFi option for surfing the Web on the iPhone today is a nice backup, but you can’t really count on it for constant mobile connectivity. A 3G iPhone would certainly become yet another Apple lust object/upgrade, but will it be enough to accelerate sales to hit the 10-million mark Steve Jobs set as a goal for next year. It all depends on the price, and you can be sure that isn’t going to be cheap. My guess is $599.

During the same talk, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson also pooh-poohed Verizon’s supposed plans to open up its network. According to Bloomberg:

Stephenson called the Verizon Wireless plan “overblown.” “The industry’s headed that way,” he said. “We are probably one of the most open networks in the world, not just the U.S.”

Thousands of developers create features for AT&T’s network, and consumers can buy phones at the full price if they don’t want to buy a subsidized model and sign a contract to use the company’s wireless service, Stephenson said.

I have my issues with AT&T’s network (slow and spotty coverage in my experience), but at least I can download any app I like to my Blackberry without going through them. The same cannot be said for Verizon, which only allows approved apps on its phones (usually ones where it is getting a cut of the download fees).