No 3G music downloads for iPhone

Will Apple's latest iPhone 3G include the ability to download music over its newly supported 3G network, CNET Senior Editor Donald Bell doesn't think so.

Photo of iPod Touch using iTunes Wi-Fi music store.
Looks like iTunes Wi-Fi music store will remain...well, Wi-Fi. Why couldn't Apple enable 3G music downloads for their new phone? CNET Networks

According to Apple's iPhone 3G product page, the mobile version of the iTunes music store will remain accessible only over the phone's Wi-Fi connection, and will not take advantage of the new 3G capability. I guess it shouldn't come as a shock that the wireless version of iTunes (dubbed "iTunes Wi-Fi") should remain a strictly Wi-Fi service. Still, it does seem like Apple has missed an obvious opportunity to allow users more ways to purchase music.

With services such as Napster Mobile and Rhapsody already allowing wireless music downloads over 3G networks for many iPhone competitors, Apple's reluctance to jump on board likely comes down to an unwillingness to share per-track revenues with AT&T. After all, when you own the music service and the hardware, why concede any profit to a wireless carrier if you can help it?

Only Apple knows for sure why music downloads have been locked out of the iPhone's 3G capability, but personally I'm disappointed to not see it included. The iPhone is so close to becoming a great music discovery tool, but limitations such as this and lack of Flash audio support are big barriers for online music fans. Oh, and don't get me started about the lack of streaming Bluetooth audio .

About the author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.

 

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