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On Call: Really, I mean it: Welcome, iPhone, to 2003

Some readers defended the late of arrival of MMS to the iPhone. CNET's cell phone editor doesn't see why.

Welcome, iPhone, to 2003 Corinne Schulze/CNET

On September 25, AT&T finally activated multimedia messaging for the iPhone. The long-awaited features caused great excitement for AT&T iPhone users, primarily because they had gone so long without it. Even worse, they had to watch while their counterparts in other countries could use MMS immediately after they got iPhone 3.0.

When the MMS update went live shortly before noon Pacific time, I posted a quick blog announcing that users could now send their first multimedia message. The blog stuck mostly to the facts, but I decided to end it by welcoming the AT&T iPhone "to 2003." And that's where the fun began.

I soon received e-mails and blog comments from CNET readers who disagreed with my salutation. Some were polite, and some weren't, but all felt that I had overlooked the iPhone's other strengths while bemoaning its late arrival to the MMS party. Here's a sampling.

LOL. Hey Kent, what do you mean by "Welcome, iPhone, to 2003?" Why is that people think the iPhone is behind by not doing MMS? Other phones can do MMS, but are way behind cause they can't do email! The first MMS was sent out in 2002, the first e-mail in the mid 1960's! Somebody please explain. - mritalian76

OK, I read all these comments from people who sarcastically proclaim the iPhone having caught up with 2003. On the other hand, Apple did make some nice enhancements to MMS. For most people, "MMS" simply means photo messaging, but on the iPhone you can send audio files, contact cards, and map locations.
- KingKuei

I know it has already been said in the comments, but I think it is worth repeating. The iPhone, unlike most phones "from 2003," can use MMS to send more than pictures. You can send contacts, videos on the 3Gs, and mapping info from the Google maps app.
- dandy1117

Yeah, it's real sad [that the iPhone is just getting MMS] when you consider that other phones can only send/receive MMS, but not email and stuff like that.
- Perry_Clease

I'll readily agree that the iPhone does many things well and it offers some experiences that aren't available on many other phones. But even with those strengths, it lagged behind almost every other cell phone on the planet by not offering a basic mobile feature for the first two years of its existence. MMS is a basic feature, but full-fledged e-mail is not. What's more, though the problem was AT&T's, the carrier's strengths and limitations are an integral part of the cell phone user experience.

So, seriously, in this case I can't make excuses. The iPhone should have had MMS from the start, and AT&T customers shouldn't have had to wait when iPhone users in other countries got it.