Along with the keyboard, the other feature about the iPhone that inspired the most concern and handwringing has been its use of AT&T’s old and somewhat slow EDGE network for Internet connectivity (the iPhone can use WiFi, too, but WiFi networks are not universally available).
And I see where people are coming from on this one. The EDGE network is not blazingly fast, especially compared to the 3G networks that the iPhone could have been on. Still, it’s not bad and does offer a much richer web-browsing experience than other phones.
The load time of web pages is much slower than on my home WiFi network, and definitely reminds me of the fast dial-up connection that many people have compared it to. DSLreports.com clocks me as running at somewhere between 114 kbits/second and 135 kbits/second. Not stellar speed, of course, but not bad.
What makes the relative slowness of the network acceptable to me is that the Safari browser included on the iPhone is a full-featured browser. No more “lite” versions of pages or needed to click the “mobile” version of a site. This is the real Internet. And that’s pretty cool.
On top of that, integrating the web and email onto the phone means that I can do things like sign up for services that require email verification, verify, and start using them within just minutes.
I’m sure there are going to be times that the slowness of the network is going to frustrate me. And I’d definitely like to see AT&T squeeze as much speed out of EDGE as possible (I’m not paying any more for it, though. $100 a month is enough for me, thanks). For now, though, having my phone, the Internet, and 1500 songs in my pocket really does feel like living in the future.