Apple's iPhone: Better in Europe

Apple has fixed several of its US faults in Europe. When will the US get the benefits?

Why couldn't Apple have done this here in the US? As the Wall Street Journal reports today, Apple responded to criticism that slow phone networks would dull the luster of its iPhone roll-out by signing a slew of WiFi/hotspot agreements throughout Europe:

After Apple Inc. said it would sell the iPhone in Europe, critics contended the device's Internet connection would be too slow for Europeans used to speedier cell networks.

So Apple did something about it. It now has agreements in place with hot-spot providers in the United Kingdom and Germany so iPhone owners can use their speedy wireless Internet networks free of charge.

How hard would it have been to do this in the US, as well, especially given the fact that every review of the iPhone castigated its dependence on a slow AT&T network. But this isn't the only change Apple has made for Europe.

Apple also worked with providers to craft unlimited-data packages. This won't sound revolutionary to US mobile users. After all, we've had these for many years. But Europe's mobile market has been different, with unlimited data plans being a relatively new phenomenon (pushing business users to rely on SMS rather than the web on their phones, and also holding up Blackberry use for years). In fact, O2, a major European mobile provider, introduced its first unlimited data plan specifically for the iPhone.

My question: when will Apple bring back to the US its European innovations? The fixes it has made have universal applicability, even for we frowsy Americans.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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