The three reasons why 3G iPhone won't matter that much

I've been thinking about the very, very public leak by Randall Stephenson, CEO of iPhone's exclusive's U.S.

I've been thinking about the very, very public leak by Randall Stephenson, CEO of iPhone's

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exclusive's U.S. distributor AT&T.

The leak that asserts iPhone will have a new model early next year that will download Internet content significantly faster over AT&T than the current model's often s-l-o-w performance over AT&T's EDGE network.

I'd expect an announcement of the faster iPhone in early January, either at Macworld, or at the Consumer Electronics Show. But I don't think this changes things much.

First of all, you can expect the next-gen iPhone to cost more. I'd bet $499. But since Apple has seen a propensity for dropping iPhone prices only a few months after release, any consumer with a lick o' sense will wait this one out.

Second, I think that most people who really wanted an iPhone already have one. They've paid between $399-$599 in recent months. Only the obsessive-compulsive, or the fanboys (who are already largely obsessive-compulsive) would buy another iPhone. And I can tell you there ain't gonna be any exchange.

Third, near as I can tell, the EDGE-as-slow-as molasses has never been a make-or-break decision arbiter for prospective iPhone purchasers. Oh sure, there have been some complaints, but I don't detect slow Internet downloads as being a barrier to purchase for the more than one million iPhone users so far.

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