AT&T hamstrings Apple?

You have to wonder how cozy Apple and AT&T really are when it seems that AT&T's network is holding back the iPhone in the States

So as I've been sitting here, watching the Gizmodo coverage of WWDC, noting that Apple once again is doing some really amazing things with computing. If the hype is even halfway real, Snow Leopard will be a major boost, faster, tighter, more features, and so forth. It's also definitely priced to move at $29 for an upgrade. When it's released next to Windows 7 (which is still theoretically possible), it'll look quite attractive. As will the new laptop lineup that includes price cuts across the board, a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, and hardware upgrades all the way around. It's also obvious that the iPhone 3G S is the most advanced mobile phone/computing platform ever built. Some of the apps that were shown were extremely impressive (even though the demos fell apart).

Yep, the iPhone continues to be a revolutionary device, changing the way the world works, plays, and communicates. It's also completely obvious that AT&T is simply not up to the task of supporting it.

[ Find out what business can expect from Mac OS X Snow Leopard. ]

All of this wonderful technology, yet AT&T still can't support MMS and tethering, even though Apple's included it in iPhone OS 3.0.

7.2Mbps HSDPA? Sure, but AT&T doesn't even have 3G anywhere around here yet, and from what I hear, it's moving quite slowly to roll out a network capable of supporting a device like the iPhone 3GS. Some might even say that the company is slow in rolling out a network that can support the current iPhone 3G. When iPhone OS 3.0 is released, 22 countries will be able to use the MMS and tethering features, and the United States will not be one of them. How embarrassing is that?

One might wonder what the terms of Apple's contract with AT&T really are. Apple's presentation today certainly seemed to throw a few darts in AT&T's direction. I would certainly think that there's some tension there, with Apple releasing this hip new phone that can only function on a network that simply can't handle it. It's like a server farm at the other end of a Token Ring connection -- lots of horsepower and features, but the network is a huge bottleneck.

Verizon passed up the iPhone just over two years ago. I'm sure it's lamented that decision in many meetings. Yes, it was a gamble, but wow, did it pay off. But I have to think that Apple's also quite disillusioned about the deal. It must be quite frustrating to pack all those resources into a device that needs fast, widespread connectivity, only to have it hamstrung by what is increasingly being viewed by users as a very poor network.

Full disclosure: I'm ordering an iPhone 3G S right now and just found AT&T's twin $18 upgrade fees. Nice touch. Tell ya what: I won't be too upset about these BS fees if you use the money to upgrade your network. Deal?