updated 01:25 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2007
3G iPhone imminent?
An analyst from a research group called Forward Concepts argues that a 3G broadband version of the iPhone is not only in development, but may be announced in the very near future. Wireless and DSP specialist Will Strauss claims that some form of announcement could happen as soon as this week, and that the possibility exists that a 3G WCDMA iPhone may be revealed at the same time as Apple reveals European carriers for the product. It is unknown whether Apple will opt for the high-speed HSDPA protocol or a more generic UMTS interface, but a separate leak suggests the former.
The basis for Strauss' predictions is news involving Infineon Technologies, known to be the key supplier of the EDGE technology used in the current iPhone. Infineon is said to be producing UMTS baseband chips for "at least two cellphone companies," according to Strauss, and it is the "only non-captive source" for WCDMA/UMTS transceiver chips. More importantly, Apple has officially signed a seven-year deal with InterDigital, which has 3G technology that Infineon is in a position to help manufacture.
The lack of 3G has been one of the most popular criticisms of the iPhone, whose EDGE option has been alternately labelled 2G or 2.5G. Even Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been quoted as calling it slow, saying it is "good enough, but you wish it was a little faster." Jobs has instead placed focus on Wi-Fi, which offers tremendous speed but is tethered to local hotspots.