Wow. Wired report says Apple knew in 2007 that AT&T couldn't support iPhone features yet didn't warn customers

Wired reports that Apple was warned by AT&T that it couldn't support the iPhone features advertised but Apple refused moderate changes...

Wired has a story about the "showdown" between AT&T and Apple over network issues.

Fred Vogelstein reports:Bad Connection: Inside the iPhone Network Meltdown | Magazine

Almost as soon as the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, the carrier realized it might run short of bandwidth. Within just a few months, the first wave of iPhone customers was already sucking down about 15 times more data than the average smartphone customer and 50 percent more than AT&T had itself projected.

In a bid to avert the looming problem, a team headed by senior vice president Kris Rinne met with Apple to ask for help.

...would Apple take measures to help throttle back the traffic? Perhaps Apple could restrict its YouTube app to run only over Wi-Fi. Maybe the iPhone could feature a smaller, lower-resolution videostream or cut off YouTube videos after one minute.

... It didn't make sense to build phones and offer features that carriers couldn't support.

But in meetings with Apple engineers and marketers over the subsequent year, Rinne and other AT&T executives discovered that Apple ... wasn't interested in cooperating, especially if it meant hobbling what had quickly become its marquee product.

...says someone from Apple who was in the meetings. "We consistently said 'No, we are not going to mess up the consumer experience on the iPhone to make your network tenable.'

They'd always end up saying, 'We're going to have to escalate this to senior AT&T executives,' and we always said, 'Fine, we'll escalate it to Steve and see who wins.' I think history has demonstrated how that turned out."

Just as Rinne and her colleagues predicted, AT&T's network proved unable to cope with the deluge of data traffic generated by the iPhone, particularly in cities like San Francisco and New York.

I don't get it.

This is a story about Apple heroically standing up to AT&T yet the result is an iPhone that can't deliver on the services advertised by Apple.

How is this a victory for Apple? AT&T said it can't support the services. Yet Apple refused to tell its customers that they would face problems on the AT&T network.

Sure enough, the network couldn't cope but it was AT&T that received the blame -- not Apple. Wired says that the Twitter hashtag #ATTFail was used 5,000 times over 6 months.

If you watched any of the millions of ads that Apple aired over the past three years you only got to see the AT&T logo for a micro-second at the very end. It was always Apple that was touting the services -- not AT&T.

Apple is clearly to blame here since it sold a product that couldn't work as advertised even though it was warned by AT&T! But Apple refused to back down on its advertising.

I can see why Apple refused. Once the phone is sold Apple had its money from the customerplus a $200 bounty from AT&T for every new subscriber. AT&T was then left holding the bag trying to support Apple's advertising -- which Apple knew couldn't be fulfilled. Apple point-blank refused modest changes such as limiting YouTube videos.

There are no winners here but only losers: the iPhone customers who were wowed by Steve Jobs' master salesman act and bought a product that failed as a phone and as a mobile data device.

(I have had an iPhone since day one. It's a fantastic device except for the phone part and the "i" part.)


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