Apple’s iPhone was once dubbed the “Hummer of cellphones” by the New York Times. Why? Because, like the gas guzzling Hummer, the iPhone uses more bandwidth than other cell phones. Yes, there’s WiFi, but WiFi isn’t as mobile as 3G, and the iPhone is a mobile device.
John Paczkowski in Apple’s Tablet: MacBook Airbus?
First, the device will presumably rely heavily on Wi-Fi to off-load wireless traffic onto the wireline network, the assumption being that it will be used most often in locations with Wi-Fi access–homes, schools, libraries, cafes and whatnot. Moreover, a mobile broadband plan will likely be optional.
That makes sense. Assume that Apple has two models, similar to the iPhone and iPod touch. The 3G option may still suck up plenty of bandwidth, but the other model, the least expensive, will use WiFi. Analyst Craig Moffett:
Streaming video is uniquely demanding traffic, as it is both bandwidth intensive AND latency sensitive. That’s a recipe for disaster. For that reason, it’s unlikely that carriers would invite that type of usage. A large screen tablet would likely rely heavily on download-to-watch-later to sidestep the latency problem, and would almost certainly provide incentives to shift the most bandwidth-intensive applications to the wired network via Wi-Fi.
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster:
I don’t see this as a device that will in the next 12 months inspire people to save their money to buy it, the way they have with the iPhone. Certainly, it will take off in due time–this is the future of publishing, but it takes 2-3 years for these things to really get going.
Maybe so, but the iPhone is already congesting AT&T’s network and it’s not yet three years.