App Industry Round-up: Is there another wireless carrier in the iPhone’s future?

Jun 2, 2010
Tech

During a broad discussion at the D8 technology conference Tuesday night, Steve Jobs discussed several issues facing Apple. In today’s App Industry Roundup, we recap his thoughts about Google, Gizmodo and if there’s room for one more iPhone carrier. Oh, and AT&T is changing its data plans.  When Steve talks, we listen (even when it comes […]

During a broad discussion at the D8 technology conference Tuesday night, Steve Jobs discussed several issues facing Apple. In today’s App Industry Roundup, we recap his thoughts about Google, Gizmodo and if there’s room for one more iPhone carrier. Oh, and AT&T is changing its data plans. 

When Steve talks, we listen (even when it comes to his sex life)

Less than a week before he makes an appearance on stage that people really care about, Steve Jobs said Tuesday that “their might be” another wireless carrier in the iPhone’s future, that he won’t let Gizmodo “extort” Apple over a stolen iPhone and that despite Google’s intrusion into Apple’s core businesses, his sex life is pretty good.

To say the least, Jobs touched on many issues as he was interviewed by gadget guru Walt Mossberg and journalist Kara Swisher at the 8th annual All Things D Conference. Jobs appeared feisty and healthy, albeit relatively slim. Of course, he was wearing a black turtle neck and blue jeans — does he sleep in those?– and acted like the CEO star he has become.

Asked by an audience member about the constant problem of dropped calls, Jobs acknowledged that he wasn’t an expert on wireless network issues but said AT&T was working very hard to fix such issues. It can sometimes get worse before it improves, he said, and that “a lot of places are getting a lot better, certainly by the end of the summer…and I truly believe the people that are telling me that.”

On the other hand, Jobs acknowledged “they have some issues” at AT&T over the network coverage, but said other carriers would have faced the same challenges had they sold the iPhone first. This is certainly true, as no smartphone has tested the capabilities of wireless networks like the iPhone. People don’t think of the iPhone as a phone, they consider it a personal mobile computing device that is used far more heavily for data — web surfing, video watching, sports score checking and emailing — than competing products. Other phones, particularly Google’s Android line-up, are starting to generate that type of usage, but Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile had plenty of time to learn from AT&T’s experience.

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Still, Jobs sounded as if he was ready to have another iPhone carrier, saying “there might be” an advantage to having an option other than AT&T. That’s as far as he would go; we shall see if Jobs will shed any light on this when he speaks Monday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference.

Uh oh Gizmodo

 Now, if you were Gizmodo and hoped that Steve Jobs might make a few jokes about your discovery of a yet-to-be released iPhone in a bar and leave it at that … well, that’s not gonna happen. Jobs is pretty peeved about the whole episode and won’t let the matter drop. During D8, he said the Gizmodo’s story is “amazing. It’s got theft, it’s got buying stolen property, it’s got extortion, I’m sure there’s sex in there somewhere,” he told Mossberg. “Someone should make a movie out of this.”

I’m sure they will, or at least an IFC documentary. Meanwhile, he told Kara Swisher about the advice he got in the wake of the “lost iPhone” story — and ignored. “When this whole thing with Gizmodo happened, I got advice from people who said ‘you gotta just let it slide, you shouldn’t go after a journalist just because they bought stolen property and tried to extort you.’ And I thought deeply about this, and I concluded the worst thing that could happen is if we change our core values and let it slide. I can’t do that. I’d rather quit.”

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Well Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media and publisher of Gizmodo, your thoughts?

As for Google and whether Jobs felt betrayed by CEO Eric Schmidt, Jobs replied, “My sex life is pretty good.”

Seriously, he said Apple wants to “make better products” and that consumers will basically decide. And really, in a competitive environment in which both Apple and Google have thrived, while Microsoft has fallen behind, don’t you want this? Who cares if Apple feels betrayed by Google? They are both multi-billion dollar companies building increasingly better products. We, as consumers, welcome the competition.

For more, check out Engadget’s live transcript of the Jobs interview. Also, the All Things D site has posted several video excerpts.

New iPhone, new plans

Finally, as we prepare for the launch of the next iPhone, AT&T announced significant changes to its data plans and said it will allow customers to tether their phones to other Internet-enabled devices. But that tethering service comes at a $20 a month flat fee. Tethering basically means you can use your smartphone — and soon your iPhone — as an alternative to a wireless laptop card to use a carrier’s network to connect your laptop to the Internet.

Engadget breaks down the tethering costs and compares AT&T’s new plan to what Verizon offers.

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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