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Jobs warns of iPhone shortages

Building factories, oh right
Fri Jun 29 2007, 09:44
IT'S Semana Santa for Apple of course, and Steve Jobs has granted a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal.

But Jobs admitted that it may have underestimated demand. He told the Journal Apple may not have "made" enough iPhones. "We built factories to build these things and everything," he said. It had made a guess as to how many iPhones were required. But that might not be enough, he admitted.

Factories? What factories?

When the Journal's hacks ask one of the big questions - about the lack of 3G availability on the iPhone - Jobs gives a considered response. "You know every (AT&T) Blackberry gets its mail over EDGE. It turns out EDGE is great for mail, and it works well for maps and a whole bunch of other stuff. Where you wish you had faster speed is … on a web browser. It's good enough, but you wish it was a little faster. That's where sandwiching EDGE with Wi-Fi really makes sense because Wi-Fi is much faster than any 3G network."

But his follow-up comments underline the differences between California and other less fortunate geographies. "Most of us have Wi-Fi networks around us most of the time at home and at work. There's often times a Wi-Fi network that you can join whether you're sitting in a coffee shop or even walking along the street piggybacking on somebody's home Wi-Fi network. What we found is the combination is working really well."

Hmm, even in London's red and tranquil labyrinth which is coated with Wi-Fi signals, you wouldn't want to be the one settling the bill, and if you spend a lot of time on trains, you won't even get the option most of the time.

So why no 3G, Steve?

"When we looked at 3G, the chipsets are not quite mature, in the sense that they're not low-enough power for what we were looking for. They were not integrated enough, so they took up too much physical space. We cared a lot about battery life and we cared a lot about physical size. Down the road, I'm sure some of those tradeoffs will become more favorable towards 3G but as of now we think we made a pretty good doggone decision."

That surely hints that even when the iPhone ships in the UK, it will probably lack 3G. Is this all bad or just a stick to hit Apple?

Maybe the latter. After spending the last month messing around with a Vodafone 3G modem, we've discovered the hard way that even in the capital and definitely once you get outside of urban conurbations, the 3G picture is very patchy. µ

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