3G iPhone coming in '08, says AT&T

It’s not often that someone trumps Steve Jobs with news on upcoming Apple products, but AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson did that on Thursday by saying Apple would announce a 3G version of the iPhone in 2008, according to a Bloomberg report.

Stephenson’s comments came at a meeting of the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, California. “You’ll have it next year,” he said. He didn’t know how much the phone would cost, saying that Steve Jobs would set the price for the new iPhone.

A 3G network is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology. One of the main benefits of 3G networks over 2G is the faster data speeds. Unlike Wi-Fi networks that require close proximity to connect, 3G networks are also on in areas where cellular service is available.

There are about 200 million people connected to 3G around the world, with Asia and Europe making up the majority of users, according to the GSM Association trade group.

When Apple released the iPhone domestically in June on AT&T’s network, the two companies used Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS). The decision to use the slower 2G standard caused complaints among users, but U.S. customers have the option to use Wi-Fi where available.

One of the problems with the 3G chips is that they are “power hogs,” commented Steve Jobs during the U.K. iPhone rollout. Jobs said they expect to see better battery consumption later next year.

Apple has set a goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 — the company sold its one millionth iPhone on September 10, 2007, 74 days after it was introduced.

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