Apple activates iTunes downloads over 3G, with a caveat

iPhone users are no longer restricted to iTunes downloads over Wi-Fi, but songs over 10MB may be excluded.

Add new songs to your iPhone over 3G. Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Though the addition of DRM-free music is grabbing the most iTunes headlines, there was more music news at the Macworld 2009 keynote on Tuesday.

Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller also announced that beginning Tuesday iPhone users will be able sample and wirelessly download iTunes tracks over AT&T's 3G network or EDGE. Previously, iTunes song downloads, unlike apps, were available only over a Wi-Fi connection.

The process works relatively well, though we encountered a couple of hiccups. Like with the iTunes Apps store, you must use Wi-Fi or a wired connection to your computer to download songs over 10MB. When we tried downloading a longer song, we received a warning message advising as such. During our first download, our connection was interrupted once. We were able to reconnect and continue the download

We tried downloading a 6.4MB song over 3G. It took about one minute and 15 seconds, which is about the same as a Wi-Fi download. We then downloaded a 7.2MB over EDGE. As expected, it was painfully slow--after all, EDGE basically is dial-up speed. It took about 20 minutes to get our song, which is too long to bother in our opinion.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.


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