The news that Apple has been forced http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7749435.stm claiming that the 3G iPhone is “really fast” point to something the mobile carriers really don’t want you to know – cellular networks are really “really slow”.
The Apple ads showed pages loading in a snap when in reality you have time to put the kettle on, put the coffee in the mug, go to the fridge for the milk and add sugar to taste before they will render.
Once upon a time, pundits exercised themselves with debates over which technology would win but the fact is that for most us not living alone by a mast is that there is no confusion between Wi-Fi and 3G. Wi-Fi is usually quick and 3G almost never is.
Who knows what will happen with future generations of cellular technology. Maybe they will be a lot faster but it’s difficult to tell just by looking at specifications because the gap between maximum speeds and everyday performance is big enough for Steve Jobs’ ego to pass through. The first iPhone with EDGE was quite a funny joke when you wanted to go online, the 3G iPhone’s cellular performance is still a bit of a joke, just not as funny as first time around. Well, those are the jokes, folks.
Of course, you can use the built-in Wi-Fi but you still need cellular for all the times you can’t get Wi-Fi such as on trains, in out-of-the-way places and so on. As a commuter on the misery lines connecting the suburbs with London I wouldn’t be without my 3G USB laptop modem but that is like saying I’d settle for Primula cheese in a toothpaste dispenser if I can’t get finest Brie.
So the advertising standards people were right to rap Apple for saying 3G is nippy – more’s the pity.