While there were some pretty interesting bits about the preview of the iPhone's upcoming 3.0 OS, there was one bit that really set me off. Apple claims that they can deliver MMS for 3G phones, but not first gen phones, because:
"Q: Is there a physical hardware problem on the first-gen iPhone that prevents it from doing MMS?
A: It’s a different radio, so it is a physical issue."
Which would be a pretty convenient explanation, because it would mean that Apple isn't playing the bad guy here - they just made a major design blunder in the first place by not introducing some hardware, right? So maybe they're stupid - but surely not evil.
Well, the problem with this claim is ... if it's true then how is it a jailbroken app can get MMS on a first gen? I quoteth again:
I own a 1st gen Iphone, and I have been fortunate to have swirly up and running. Currently I’m working on getting my friend’s 1st gen to work, however my method of calling up ATT and demaning to have MMS added to the account won’t work anymore.
Isn't that curious? And the mumblevine tells me that by "radio", we shouldn't necessarily think of a specific wire shoved into the case, but rather a combination of hardware and firmware, with the later almost certainly being flashable.
So Apple claims they can't get first gens to work, although jailbroken apps can. Or could. I haven't tried myself, since I don't want to jailbreak my phone, but I find the statement "however my method of calling up ATT and demaning to have MMS added to the account won’t work anymore", very curious.
Let's pose the question for a moment - why wouldn't the first gen iPhones have supported MMS in the first place?. It's a very basic feature of cell phones, extremely common - to the point where it never actually occurred to me that my phone didn't support it until I tried to get a message from The Girl one day, and ran afoul of the extremely poor viewmymessage.com.
Remember that the first gen iPhone offered a $99 unlimited data plan, which was rather unique at the time. Remember that the iPhone 3G has a completely different data plan, which is more expensive to let AT&T recoup all that subsidized hardware in a matter of a couple of years.
Well, what happens when people start sending messages of their cats to each other all day long? Bandwidth costs rise, and suddenly that $99 plan doesn't look so good to AT&T. Emails, sure they can suck up bandwidth - but most people will prefer to use WiFi for those anyway. MMS is all cell, all the time.
The smoking gun here is viewmymessage.com, clearly a byproduct of AT&T design shoved onto the original iPhone to save AT&T money. It's an embarrassingly bad implementation, buggy and user unfriendly.
And Apple just told first gen users that they can suck it, they're stuck with it.
And I'm guessing the real incompatibility is contractual, not technical. I challenge anyone to offer concrete proof to the contrary.