Hands-on with iPhone 3G music downloads

Annoyed that you could only download iTunes music to your iPhone via Wi-Fi? Yesterday Apple announced that you can now do it over 3G. It's the future

Andrew Lim
2 min read

Apple made two important announcements yesterday regarding music on the iPhone: one was iTunes going DRM-free; the other was the ability to download music tracks straight on to your iPhone over 3G.

We tested downloading tracks to an iPhone over a 3G connection last night and found you can download a single track in around a minute or a full album in about 10 minutes. The service works well, but there are a few issues.

The first issue is that you can only download tracks if you have an Edge or 3G connection: GPRS won't work. The second thing, discovered by our music guru Nate Lanxon, is that you can't download tracks that are over 10MB.

When Nate tried to download a 2007 version of Pull Me Under by Dream Theater, this message popped up:

Of course, this issue will only affect very long tracks, so if you're not bothered about mammoth progressive metal, you should be fine. Aside from this, we found the service worked well and is an ideal way of downloading music on the go. Add to that the fact that you can now download tracks DRM-free, so you can listen to them on other devices and share them with friends, and you've got a very happy Crave crew.

This is more than just a consumer-friendly move: it's also a big step forward for mobile music. In its infancy, mobile music was purely about ringtones and to some extent that's still the case, but over the past year we've seen some real improvements and this is the cherry on top.

Apple's move into mobile music isn't revolutionary, but it does highlight how easy it is to do and that the technology exists. 2009 is going to be huge for downloading music a la carte, on the go, via services such as iTunes, or via subscription-based services such as Omnifone's MusicStation or Nokia's Comes With Music. Choice: we finally has it.