John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

iPhone 3G Available Firmware Update: No Comment

I live in downtown Los Angeles, where 3G coverage is a given, and not only is the 3G wonky and unreliable, but oftentimes I’m struggling to even get decent Edge support! Edge is absolutely worse on my new 3G than it ever was on my first-generation iPhone. Adding insult to injury, I drop multiple calls every day, something that rarely happened before my ‘upgrade.’ “

A post to Apple’s iPhone 3G discussion forum

Good thing the iPhone was chosen as Time Magazine’s 2007 Invention of the Year, because a growing chorus of discontent suggests its successor is unworthy of the honor in 2008. Voice and data reception issues have been troubling the device for weeks now and it seems the blame for them lies not with the network carriers, but with Apple (AAPL) itself. On Wednesday, T-Mobile Netherlands stepped forward to blame Apple for the reception issues with the iPhone 3G. “We suspect that it is a hardware/ software-specific issue of the iPhone itself,” the company said in a (poorly translated) blog post. In Australia, Vodafone also blamed the iPhone 3G’s reception issues on Apple. In Sweden, engineering weekly Ny Teknik claims that iPhone 3G’s sensitivity to third-generation wireless network signals is well below the 3G standard.

In the states, “well-placed sources” have told BusinessWeek that the Infineon Technologies (IFX) chip Apple chose for the handset is undermining its performance. And they are not the first to make such claims. Earlier this week, Nomura analyst Richard Windsor fingered the device’s chipset as the problem as well. “The 3G iPhone has been out for a month, but signs of problems are appearing that should give competitors some breathing space,” Windsor said in a report to clients. “Problems include high incidence of dropped calls, switching onto EDGE while the device is stationary and loss of reception while in good coverage. We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier.”

So if that’s truly the case, what’s the solution? A firmware upgrade, most likely. Those “well-placed sources” mentioned earlier say Apple and Infineon are prepping one for September release. In the meantime, the companies are sticking with time-tested workaround: “no comment.


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