Daniel Eran Dilger
Random header image... Refresh for more!

From iDay in SF: A Finer EDGE and New Bluetooth Info

Daniel Eran Dilger

June 29, 2007 isn’t just the iDay release of the iPhone, it’s also opening day for Steve Jobs’ other gig, the latest Disney Pixar film Ratatouille. It’s also the official release day for the Free Software Foundation’s GPLv3, although nobody needs to wait in line for that.
Reader Alf of the Spanish faq-mac site sent his iDay commemorate artwork.

Around the US, the lines are getting progressively longer as fans wait to be among the first to pick up the new iPhone. Those who camped out at Apple Stores may end up with a gift bag for their efforts.

That would include yours truly, the bed-headed, caffeinated, mini-putting street sleeper now wearing yesterday’s trousers, a few stitches, and perhaps an extra couple pounds of snack food after an all night binge involving a public sleepover and improvisational street performance in the heart of San Francisco, America’s most flamboyantly welcoming city.

[Flickr: iPhone]
[www.faq-mac.com: Noticias sobre Apple, Macintosh y Tecnología en Castellano]

Snacks and Poetry.
The antics on Stockton Street prompted RDM reader and forums contributor Sebastian Lewis to compose poetry, after first dropping off a gift box of granola bars to ensure my friends and I would have something to eat besides the chocolates handed out by neighboring confectioner Ghirardelli, and the mystery pizzas someone delivered:

Twas the Night before iDay when outside the Store
Not a sound was heard not even a Snore
The Geeks were lined up on their blue little Mats
Merlin was caught playing with his Hat

Randall L. Stephenson was snug in his Bed
While Nightmares of iPhones danced in Bill Gates Head
Al Gore was ranting about the Environment
The Universe was preparing for a 3rd Apple Dent

The Clowns were teaching Fake Steve Jobs to putt
Jonathan Ive was stuck in a rutt
“How will I ever top this?

I’ve designed a phone that is perfect bliss!”

The 29th at dawn Microsoft Imploded
Everywhere in the world Apple Stores Exploded
Away at the Apple Store there was a huge crash
20 Minutes on MUNI I flew in a Flash

Down from a helicopter descended Steve Jobs
The area became a hellhole full of Mobs
Daniel munched nervously on a Nature Valley Bar
Inside the first iPhone to be sold protected by a Macworld Jar

[AppleInsider | Apple Store SF iPhone line already a three-ring circus]

An Achilles Heal?
The iPhone’s weakest link in early reviews has been its… weak link: EDGE. That’s the only ubiquitous data service provided by AT&T, and it’s significantly slower than the EV-DO service offered by American CDMA rivals Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

EDGE yet again slower than the next generation data services commonly found in Europe and Asia, the 3G tier of mobile data services which offer near-broadband access rates.

While the iPhone also has WiFi–which is yet again faster than 3G mobile data services–WiFi hot spot service isn’t widely available outside of coffee shops, homes, and businesses.

For that reason, it’s good news to find that the results of AT&T’s upgrade to its EDGE network, internally referred to as the Fine EDGE project, are starting to show up in dramatically faster data rates that current EDGE users are reporting around the US.

[Apple’s Secret iPhone Application Business Model]

Typical EDGE data rates on AT&T’s network have been around 70-120 kbit/sec, but with the upgrade, users are reporting throughput over 200 kbit/sec, and close to the ~235 kbit/sec maximum related to EDGE technology. That dramatic boost should take some of the sting off of the early iPhone reports that lamented its mobile data service as being excessively sluggish for use on graphically heavy web sites or with email attachments.

As I reported six months ago, the upper edge of EDGE is technically considered by the ITU telephony standards organization to be 3G service. My comments were torn to shreds by the doubters, but it looks like even Engadget is now admitting that yes, the top end of EDGE really is defined as a 3G level of service by the ITU.

The only difference is that I cited a source for my statement when I stated it six months ago, while Engadget added it to an update to its blog post today, saying it was a “little known fact.” Certainly to Engadget readers!

Those Windows Enthusiasts always come around eventually, they just need time to calm down and they need to hear it from sources they can find on Digg. For everyone else, I’ll try to sustain the six month lead. Just don’t tell the Diggers, they don’t like it when I scoop.

[Inside the iPhone: EDGE, EVDO, HSUPA, 3G, and WiFi : What is Generation 3?]
[AT&T customers seeing sudden boost in EDGE speeds? – Engadget]

More Bluetooth Surprises?
Speaking of scoops, William Dumass writes “The Bluetooth SIG just qualified the iPhone in the middle of the night. [Apple] didn’t use Apple Bluetooth software, which is odd to me. The software came from a company called Open Interface [based in Seattle, Washington].

”In doing some research, this company does a lot of audio stuff. They have press about [digital amp maker] STMicro which is working to combine their amps with Open Interface. Renesas does a lot of car chips so I am just guessing that Apple may have some surprises with the iPhone.

“Apple is using [Bluetooth] silicon from CSR and are using the Bluecore 4 [chipset]. The [iPhone’s Bluetooth] software is BLUEmagic 3.0 from Open Interface North America, Inc. This is really interesting because [Apple] didn’t use the software that came with the CSR chip and they didn’t use their own Bluetooth software. What is it about this company that makes Apple want to use their software?”

One possible outcome may be related to recent technology unveilings by Open Interface at CES, opposite of the iPhone at Macworld Expo, which involved wireless distribution of HD video and surround audio.

Perhaps my Apple Surround concept for a wireless surround audio add-on to Apple TV wasn’t too far from the mark? Stay tuned!