Apple and AT&T relationship shows strain

“I would not want to have been an AT&T employee at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. There were at least three moments when comments by Apple executives betrayed thinly veiled criticism of the phone company, leaving me to wonder about the state of the relationship between Apple and the exclusive U.S. iPhone provider,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.

“The first moment came as Forstall laid out features of the new iPhone operating system, iPhone 3.0. Among them is support for Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS—the ability to send pictures, videos, contacts, audio recordings, and other content embedded within a phone-to-phone message,” Hesseldahl reports.

“But, Forstall noted, the feature ‘requires carrier support,’ meaning it can’t work without the cooperation of the wireless service provider. And even though 29 wireless companies in 76 countries will support MMS when iPhone 3.0 launches on June 17, two days before the launch of the new iPhone 3G S, it won’t be available in the U.S., through AT&T, until “later this summer,” he said before quickly moving on to the next topic,” Hesseldahl reports. “Audience laughter ensued.”

“Another feature the new iPhone is designed to offer is tethering, which lets a wireless phone act like a modem and share its wireless Internet connection with a nearby notebook PC. This handy feature has been available on Palm’s Treo, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, and scores of other devices for years. Slides presented by Forstall at the conference showed that while 22 carriers in 42 countries will support tethering on the iPhone right away, AT&T will not,” Hesseldahl reports. “More laughter at AT&T’s expense.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of the fact that AT&T Mobility saved us a few times (in certain areas of Florida, for one example) where our MacBook Pros’ Verizon EVDO cards had no signal at all while our iPhones had 5 bars on AT&T, the issue boils down to this:

How many billions of dollars does AT&T need to earn in profits before they get up off their fat asses and really get to work dramatically improving their wireless network’s reliability and capacity?

It’s telling that when Verizon’s network coverage failed us, we had to use Netshare, an iPhone tethering app that was long ago pulled from Apple’s App Store (likely at AT&T’s behest), because AT&T still doesn’t offer tethering plans for iPhone users.

By the way, AT&T brass, here’s a hint: Most of the U.S.’s media outlets are located in a few condensed locales. If you wanted to achieve at least the illusion of having stellar network reliability and capacity, you could at least go to work improving your network in and around, for example, the New York metro region, and your media coverage, at least, would change overnight. That you haven’t long ago done so suggests that, in addition to being inept, you’re also not very bright.

Fat, lazy, and stupid is no way to go through life, AT&T.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

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