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Steve Jobs Wanted an iPhone-Only Wireless Network

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-iinternet dept.

Communications 263

jfruhlinger writes "One of the more profound ways that the iPhone changed the mobile industry was the fact that it upended the relationship between the handset maker and the wireless carrier: Apple sells many of its phones directly to customers, and in general has much more of an upper hand with carriers than most phone manufacturers. But venture capitalist John Stanton, who was friends with Steve Jobs in the years when the iPhone was in development, said the Apple CEO's initial vision was even more radical: he wanted Apple to build its own wireless network using unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, thus bypassing the carriers altogether."

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And We'll call it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067182)

iCanthearyounow

Neat (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067186)

That would've freed up a lot of the load on AT&T. However, it would've made the iPhone a lot more expensive per unit... hmm. Where's the downside?

Re:Neat (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067218)

The walled garden would have replaced the internet.

Re:Neat (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067354)

The walled garden would have replaced the internet.

Not his walled garden, he'd have left the door for Microsoft to walk in and do it. As inept as Redmond has been with wireless and smart phones, this would have made them. And in turn they would have dominated the market because Apple didn't learn anything from past failures.

Re:Neat (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067678)

And I would have stayed on the other side of the wall and chucked the occasional beer can over into the garden.

Re:Neat (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067230)

At the very least it would have justified the initial absurd price per phone.

Re:Neat (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067304)

At the very least it would have justified the initial absurd price per phone.

Yeah, but Apple trying to be a player in a global Wi-Fi network wouldn't have happened. They succeeded because they let the phone companies bear the burden of satellites and tower contracts, fibre trunks, maintenance, etc.

Re:Neat (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068086)

Indeed. It was genius, even if it wasn't intentional. When a phone drops calls or has data hiccups, who gets blamed? It's ALWAYS the cell carrier. Let someone else get all the blame. Funny thing though, my AT&T service was always fine until all the iPhone users appeared and clogged stuff up. Now the wireless network is getting clogged with people talking to Siri? Argh.

Re:Neat (5, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068172)

Well, it is your carrier that is overselling their bandwidth. It is really not Apple's fault.

It would be Apple's fault if your phone couldn't use a signal that was there, or if ou had to hold it in a funny way to not touch the antena. That problem you describe, it's really an AT&T problem.

Re:Neat (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068202)

Indeed. It was genius, even if it wasn't intentional. When a phone drops calls or has data hiccups, who gets blamed? It's ALWAYS the cell carrier. Let someone else get all the blame. Funny thing though, my AT&T service was always fine until all the iPhone users appeared and clogged stuff up. Now the wireless network is getting clogged with people talking to Siri? Argh.

This is all part of the evolution of communications.

Remember why the dotcom bubble burst? Because, despite all the brilliant ideas everyone had, the infrastructure was two copper wires, all the neat tricks to get 5Mbps were still in development, and so many technologies ran into the bandwidth wall. Now we can do 6 (or more) Mbps over copper (particularly if we live close to the switch) but the flood of iPhone traffic revealed the flimsy network for cellular was never intended for high bandwidth. Well, the carriers learned (particularly AT&T after the mess in NYC) and technology has been rapidly improving (though taking more time to roll out in some areas than others.)

Voice bandwidth needs were tiny, like 3KHz on old copper. Imagine compressing that in a digital stream. With people websurfing, streaming music and video and now mucking about with the "Cloud" for documents, spreadsheets, The Bob knows what else, that bandwith must become higher or customers go to another carrier who can hack it (a good thing to have multiple carriers in any area!)

Re:Neat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067480)

I've never understood this logic...

Why was the initial purchase price absurd? It was apparently "realistic" enough that they sold MILLIONS of units. The fact that you personally think it wasn't "worth" it makes the price point absurd? You realize you're engaging in the same sort of "magical thinking" that you (and I am hereby assigning "you" to the "group of people who always seem to make these anti-iPhone remarks") ascribe to "t3h Apple fanboiz!!!11"....

Re:Neat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067582)

I dont see how the fact that they sold millions to negate the fact that the price was absurd. Maybe there are a million of absurd people.

Re:Neat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068048)

shut the fuck up, iFanboy.

Re:Neat (4, Interesting)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068104)

How many people actually bought them without contracts though? That is where the cell phone companies screwed up, by subsidizing the phones. They should have never done that- they should have made people pay installments on their bills, and then when the phone is paid off, the bill goes down. Then people would actually value technology.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068384)

I've never understood this logic...

Why was the initial purchase price absurd?

It was much more expensive than other, better, smartphones that were already on the market.

It was apparently "realistic" enough that they sold MILLIONS of units. The fact that you personally think it wasn't "worth" it makes the price point absurd?

It was aburd.

You realize you're engaging in the same sort of "magical thinking" that you (and I am hereby assigning "you" to the "group of people who always seem to make these anti-iPhone remarks") ascribe to "t3h Apple fanboiz!!!11"....

No it's not, it's true. Apple's pricing has almost always been absurd, there are plenty of people willing to pay absurd prices for Apple products. Doesn't make it not absurd, just like Monster cables and plenty of other absurdly priced products.

          Anyway... wow. I'm glad they didn't attempt this, just what i need is *even more* interference in the wifi band. And, of course, building a cellular-like network with the range a wifi cell could have would be pretty unworkable.

Re:Neat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067254)

how do you figure? ipod touch prices are the same as iphones after carrier lock-in discounts.

Compare Jobs & Gates & Stallman: Jobs a ty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067400)

Nobody knows Stallman as the man that gave away free Software. Nobody knows Gates as the man that put a x86 PC in every house. Nobody knows Jobs as the guy that wanted to take that all away and say what you can run on His PDA phone.

This image URL says it all (zoom in).

  http://www.ecommnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/gates-jobs-stallman.jpg [ecommnews.net]

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067506)

It probably would have been cheaper per unit.

A good % of the cost per phone is paying patents to known cell phone companies.

Re:Neat (2)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067838)

AT&T, and all the other little baby Bells, have had over a hundred years and massive subsidies to build their networks; Apple would have to start from scratch.

Re:Neat (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068128)

And the copper POTS network is paid off. What about having to add a "G" to the cell service every 18 months and laying fiber all over the place? That's where the money is going.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067884)

You completely made that up and have absolutely no evidence to back it. You don't actually know if Apple licensed any patents on a per phone basis and stripped of all made up facts your post basically boils down to "Imgainary property is teh evilz". So I guess my question is, why didn't just log in and soak up the karma?

Re:Neat (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068180)

The article is not that clear on which portion of networks services Jobs planned to put on his un-licensed wifi.
Clearly Calls would have to bridge the gap between his network and the POTS system somewhere.

Perhaps he was only planning for the data portion on his network. Even then, its clear he had no idea of the enormous size of the
task at hand. Even using mesh network topology the cost of APs would have been enormous.

Still you can't fault him for trying to end-run the bastards. We will eventually end up with a "dumb pipe" network from the carriers,
where they stop selling us minutes or data, and just sell bandwidth.

I suspect Google is much closer to being able to allow you to forego minutes altogether, by handling calls over data on their Google Voice service via what ever data connection you might have. I suspect the only thing holding them back is not wanting to piss off the carriers.

Which would have worked... (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067234)

Apple to build its own wireless network using unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, thus bypassing the carriers altogether."

Which would have worked, if you were only willing to go about with something like the iTouch. While popular, the evolution to hand-held computer, camera, game-device and phone became a bit mostly on the latter.

I visualised such a network years before the iPhone and realise how much it wouldn't have happened. There was some network in the SF Bay Area meant to do something similar, but you had to be paying to be on it and these sorts of things didn't come cheap. Even taking advantage of economies of scale, you'd be running up against those who own the cell towers. My cousin is in that racket and don't underestimate the costs and other problems inherent there. Going with cellular was the only way it was going to work.

Re:Which would have worked... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067322)

Even more importantly, at what point do disruptions to both other unlicensed users and to, more importantly, licensed users operating as primary users of spectrum that's also allowed for unlicensed use, cause the FCC to come down on such a scheme to destroy it? Granted, it would probably have to be pretty flagrant, but a hundred-thousand devices from one manufacturer in a metro area is probably enough to where they'd take notice, evaluate the usage on that spectrum, and possibly make a ruling...

Wifi on 2.4 and 5.8GHz is already posing problems enough, and those are intentionally very limited in range and power level...

Re:Which would have worked... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067540)

Even more importantly, at what point do disruptions to both other unlicensed users and to, more importantly, licensed users operating as primary users of spectrum that's also allowed for unlicensed use, cause the FCC to come down on such a scheme to destroy it? Granted, it would probably have to be pretty flagrant, but a hundred-thousand devices from one manufacturer in a metro area is probably enough to where they'd take notice, evaluate the usage on that spectrum, and possibly make a ruling...

Wifi on 2.4 and 5.8GHz is already posing problems enough, and those are intentionally very limited in range and power level...

The obsessive in Jobs would have meant all these towers, relays, backbone and employees would be Apple people because only in that way could he have had complete control over it. Yeah, FCC might have said, "You're behaving like a monopoly and your dues aren't paid!"

Re:Which would have worked... (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067574)

It's basically building another wireless network from scratch, regardless of the spectrum space. Apple has the warchest, it could certainly do that today, but in 2005 or 2006 to get 20 or 30 billion dollars would have A: given up the plan and B: been completely unthinkable for Apple. On top of all that you have enormous chicken and egg problems while the whole thing is getting built.

On one hand, who wouldn't want their own wireless network to stick to the big carriers (I'm in canada, our carriers are equally bad, if not worse than the US ones), but it's a very risky game to play.

Re:Which would have worked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067748)

It's an iPod Touch. Quit it.

Re:Which would have worked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067930)

Stop touching yourself Kent!

There is no such thing as an iTouch, d00d.

Smart Guy (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067268)

Clearly a wise idea, but I wonder how he would have run a cell company different. How would rates be structured? Would the incumbents let iPhones roam on their networks or would they try to freeze-out the interloper? The mind boggles...

One of the more profound ways that the iPhone changed the mobile industry was the fact that it upended the relationship between the handset maker and the wireless carrier

It really only upended the relationship between Apple and its wireless carriers. Most phones are still marketed and sold the old-fashioned way, and Google doesn't have magic open-source-fairy dust that prevents carriers from selling crappy phones on very carrier-friendly terms.

Re:Smart Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067816)

Clearly a wise idea

Clearly a bad idea. And Jobs was smart enough not to do it.

Re:Smart Guy (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068148)

How would the rates be structured? $49.99 for 400 minutes, $89.99 for 650 minutes and $175 for unlimited. If it's anything like their hardware rate structure.

Re:Smart Guy (2)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068290)

Of course, if its fees had been structured like its other services it might have been free or $25/year.

Re:Smart Guy (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068544)

Or to be fair, maybe $4.99 for 90 minutes which you could keep around for 30 days, unless you started using them. Once you used the first minute, then you had 24 hours before the remaining 90 minutes expired.

Re:Smart Guy (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068282)

Would the incumbents let iPhones roam on their networks or would they try to freeze-out the interloper?

I doubt the phones would even have been capable of roaming on other networks, had they been designed for this chunk of spectrum. Certainly it would be possible to support both, but at more cost, more size, and more power consumption.

Re:Smart Guy (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068390)

Probably all IP.

Probably expensive for what it was.

technically unfeasable (4, Insightful)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067312)

This would not have been feasible, which is why it didn't work. the idea of a carrier pushing through a wifi network with enough coverage space is laughable. The 3g/4g wireless spectrum operates entirely different than wifi because wifi is limited in many ways..

The point is, we can all sit around and throw ideas and himhaw back and forth, but if things don't pass engineering/financial spec the don't get done. Applauding Jobs as a visionary for an idea that failed on technical and financial merit is kinda stupid.

Re:technically unfeasable (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067376)

This would not have been feasible, which is why it didn't work. the idea of a carrier pushing through a wifi network with enough coverage space is laughable. The 3g/4g wireless spectrum operates entirely different than wifi because wifi is limited in many ways..

The point is, we can all sit around and throw ideas and himhaw back and forth, but if things don't pass engineering/financial spec the don't get done. Applauding Jobs as a visionary for an idea that failed on technical and financial merit is kinda stupid.

The success was in the not doing it.

Re:technically unfeasable (4, Funny)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067978)

This would not have been feasible, which is why it didn't work. the idea of a carrier pushing through a wifi network with enough coverage space is laughable. The 3g/4g wireless spectrum operates entirely different than wifi because wifi is limited in many ways..

The point is, we can all sit around and throw ideas and himhaw back and forth, but if things don't pass engineering/financial spec the don't get done. Applauding Jobs as a visionary for an idea that failed on technical and financial merit is kinda stupid.

The success was in the not doing it.

Why don't you have your own little success by not posting?

Re:technically unfeasable (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068266)

Wish I could mod you funny.

Re:technically^H politicaly unfeasable? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067702)

With enough devices on the market, altogether with advances in Ad-hoc networks, this may be possible (I think there are still tweaks to the routing protocols, which I think are pure madness).

However, I see two main groups against such thing:
1. The carriers, that may lose a big chunk of customers that don't mind no having complete availability.
2. But most importantly, the government, which, besides of opposing to this, may also be worried about not being able to track users so easily and tap on conversations, as they do now.

So more than "technically", I think is politically unfeasible.

Re:technically^H politicaly unfeasable? (2)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068010)

With enough devices on the market, altogether with advances in Ad-hoc networks, this may be possible (I think there are still tweaks to the routing protocols, which I think are pure madness).

I posted something about this just this morning, linking to an older article [imagicity.com] I wrote. In a nutshell, between advances in wireless networking protocols and approaches, improvements in mesh networking and new developments in end-to-end voice and data encryption, we can reasonably begin thinking about creating telco-less networks.

However, I see two main groups against such thing:

1. The carriers, that may lose a big chunk of customers that don't mind no having complete availability.

2. But most importantly, the government, which, besides of opposing to this, may also be worried about not being able to track users so easily and tap on conversations, as they do now.

So more than "technically", I think is politically unfeasible.

I reposted the article because of the SOPA fiasco [thestar.com] currently playing itself out in the US Congress. Network ownership (or, more precisely, the affiliation between network owners and so-called content owners) is one of the main obstacles to the continued development of the Internet as we know it. The only way around the draconian content restrictions being proposed by media and tech companies is to operate a network that doesn't rely on their good graces.

I don't have any illusions whatsoever that a Jobs-inspired Apple network would have been a Free Information playground. Quite the contrary. It would most likely have resembled a digital Disneyland, with cutesy characters allowing you to do anything you like, as long as it's what they intended you to do in the first place.

Nonetheless, the idea of a Network Of Devices is sound. I just wish someone with both the necessary resources and a sane understanding of freedom were in a position to begin creating it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure such a creature exists....

Re:technically^H politicaly unfeasable? (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068182)

How is it sound, exactly? If I need to make a call, I need to make sure someone else is in the area with their cell phone turned on and willing to let me drain their battery? How do you do long distance?

Re:technically^H politicaly unfeasable? (2)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068396)

How is it sound, exactly?

'Sound' in the sense that we've solved some of the key problems that kept this idea in the realm of the impossible. Now, it's merely improbably difficult. 8^)

If I need to make a call, I need to make sure someone else is in the area with their cell phone turned on and willing to let me drain their battery?

Agreed. Which makes it problematical for a lot of the continental US. But it's not so impractical in Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Egypt - countless other locales. Which, not coincidentally, represent the largest area of growth in wireless networks right now.

The battery issue is another kettle of fish. I can only hand-wave at the moment and assume that improvements in power storage and efficiency will continue for at least a decade, which would render this issue manageable, even if it doesn't solve it entirely.

How do you do long distance?

Assuming a data-only network (i.e. VOIP as the sole means of voice communication), you don't even think about it.

But I think what you're really asking is: How do I communicate with people on other networks; and how do I handle billing for inter-carrier calls (which is an astoundingly ugly and byzantine process)?

The short answer is: You don't.

The slightly longer answer becomes clear when you phrase the question thusly: How do I send email to someone who's on another Internet? Back in the days of AOL, Compuserve, Delphi and co. this used to be a real issue. Once the Internet asserted itself, however, the whole thing just sorted itself out.

To sum up, operating a carrier-less network allows you to dispose of a lot of the structures that the carriers have built into their data networks.

But notwithstanding what I've just writting, your point still holds that there are significant -show-stopping- issues that still need to be addressed. I don't deny that. I do, however, feel that these are finite technical problems, difficult but not insurmountable.

Re:technically^H politicaly unfeasable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068514)

If Linux ever unified to the point where they were able to create other things, this would be right up there.

All they would need to do is allow anybody to connect as a guest to a Wi-Fi network. Add in being not-anonymous, semi-anonymous, or fully anonymous in the data transfer (get different bits from different servers).

It would have to start off small, but I think that it could be done. I mean, there is hardly anywhere that you go that doesn't have a secure access point. Imagine if you could use any of those...

Well, unfeasable back then (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067772)

You're getting caught up in the technical details. What he was thinking about was more high level ie how to build a phone carrier that was unencumbered by the high capital costs of building out infrastructure.

I suppose an MVNO wasn't in the cards, although there were rumors about that too.

With LTE, it'd be possible to do exactly what he wanted - have a global MVNO that Just Works. You'd sell your phone and it would be able to hop onto any LTE network, no contract required. At that point the carrier would be split into tower/backhaul and billing/marketing divisions. I mean really, the consumer side of the business is totally separate conceptually from the back-end. Backhaul is backhaul.

Re:technically unfeasable (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068370)

He said "unlicensed spectrum" I don't think he said "2.4Ghz Wifi".

I work for The Serval Project, and using unlicensed spectrum for phone calls is exactly what we are working on. Right now our prototype software uses the 2.4Ghz wifi radios in android smart phones. But we eventually want to use other ISM bands like 915Mhz.

lack of understanding (4, Informative)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067340)

On a good day, Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n) can travel about 900 feet between devices. Even with a directional antenna and some good hardware, you're looking at a maximum of about one mile transmitting distance between devices... Not sure how you could have any kind of sustainable network within these limited parameters.

Re:lack of understanding (5, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067654)

Well:

1) Charge for access to online services (Apple Store, iTunes, etc).
2) Offer free service to anyone who agrees to "share" their home wired internet connection by installing a special Apple router, which provides service to any i* devices in the area

Where I live, our biggest ISP is doing something similar: everyone who signs up gets a Fonera router (unless they opt-out) and shares their unlimited connection with other clients. Now, the ISP can advertise "Free Wifi everywhere" as a feature to attract new clients. Win-win.

Re:lack of understanding (1)

MikeKD (549924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067824)

2) Offer free service to anyone who agrees to "share" their home wired internet connection by installing a special Apple router, which provides service to any i* devices in the area

And what about areas without homes (or offices, etc.), such as highways between cities?

Re:lack of understanding (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068018)

Well, it'd be easier to install their own devices just in those areas.

But I wasn't really making a real suggestion, just throwing it out there. It's most probably impracticable.

Re:lack of understanding (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068378)

Add in mesh routing to that solution and any device connected to those routers can also extend coverage.

Re:lack of understanding (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067692)

On a good day, Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n) can travel about 900 feet between devices. Even with a directional antenna and some good hardware, you're looking at a maximum of about one mile transmitting distance between devices... Not sure how you could have any kind of sustainable network within these limited parameters.

You're missing the point (ironic, given the subject line you chose), perhaps because of the misleading Slashdot title. This wasn't about using Wi-Fi or the 2.4/5 GHz band. It was about using unlicensed parts of the EM spectrum - some of which is quite suitable for longer-distance communication (and is already used for such). The "wi-fi" part is only referencing the fact that 802.11 also uses a section of unlicensed spectrum.

Re:lack of understanding (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067742)

On a good day, Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n) can travel about 900 feet between devices. Even with a directional antenna and some good hardware, you're looking at a maximum of about one mile transmitting distance between devices... Not sure how you could have any kind of sustainable network within these limited parameters.

So just up the wattage on relays. You might cook a few pigeons in the process, too.

Re:lack of understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068468)

I don't know, maybe it's just insight I have as a cellular R&D engineer, but, you can't just up the wattage. To operate in unlicensed spectrum (900, 2400 and 5800 MHz), there are some pretty damn strict limitations. The big one is, don't quote me on this, but I don't think you're allowed to transmit more than 1 watt. I know for damn sure that it isn't supposed to have a range of more than several hundred feet. That's why devices operating in those spectrums still have to be approved by the FCC, to ensure they stick to broadcast power guide lines. Second, and this is a BIG issue. Handover, the operation of transfering a connection from one tower to another, is quite possible the most difficult thing you can ever have to do. Data networks don't care so much because if you drop the connection for a second or two, no big deal. On voice, kind of a big deal. Then as mentioned, a phones power usage is something like 100x higher during cell broadcast than during idle. Batteries would last maybe an hour or two at best. Throw in that on spread spectrum air interfaces, the noiser the channel the more broadcast power you need, and everybody constantly broadcasting, every device would literally have to scream, killing batteries even quicker.

Really, if apple had wanted to do this, they'd have had to participate in the 700MHz auction a few years back. And as hard as this may be for most of you to believe, 30 billion, not really a lot of money in that auction. I think the total 700MHz auction went for some 140 billion, and one of the blocks didn't even auction. The dollar amounts were almost hard for me to comprehend.

We're trying to implement large scale ad-hoc networks, it's difficult. Beyond the sheer problems in the air interface, remember how the network stacks light up having to route all this data, and I'm not just talking user plane, I'm talking about node discovery and routing tables as well. And god help you for a paging channel, seriously, with an ad-hoc, how the hell do you know where to send a page. If you know how to implement a scaleable paging scheme usable in a large scale ad-hoc network, patent it, because you'll be a billionaire.

Re:lack of understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068608)

I beg to differ... I have several 802.11a wireless links pushing 20 miles... Links that long are, admittedly point to point, and using a dish on each end. But it is only a 17 inch dish (roughly the size of a Direct TV dish...) and about 100 feet up a tower...

With a bigger dish, I've run links over 40 miles...

900 feet... Only if you limit yourself to what is available in Best Buy.

Apple's Future (0, Troll)

LowlyWorm (966676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067390)

I hate to speak ill of the man so soon after death but I always felt Apple was always too restrained by him. Every thing they do is so closed and exclusive. They never extended a hand to the open source community. Yes, the same could have been said of Microsoft but Apple seemed off the deep end. This did offer some of the benefits of Job's vision but I think Apple may be poised in a better position now. Time will tell.

Re:Apple's Future (4, Informative)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067498)

"Every thing they do is so closed and exclusive. They never extended a hand to the open source community."

I'm sorry, you're terribly confused. Or a troll:

http://www.opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system) [wikipedia.org]

http://www.webkit.org/ [webkit.org]

http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/12/apple-joins-openjdk-to-open-source-mac-os-x-java-technology/ [techcrunch.com]

http://alac.macosforge.org/ [macosforge.org]

Etc.

A.

Re:Apple's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067686)

Clang

lldb

Re:Apple's Future (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067508)

http://opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

The depth of delusion on Slashdot surprises me to this day.

Anybody who's used Chrome or the web browser on Android has benefited from Apple's work on WebKit. But the zealots will try to rewrite history on that too.

Re:Apple's Future (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067768)

http://opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

The depth of delusion on Slashdot surprises me to this day.

Anybody who's used Chrome or the web browser on Android has benefited from Apple's work on WebKit. But the zealots will try to rewrite history on that too.

OpenSource for other projects, but not in the development of any of their products. Not if they could help it anyway.

Re:Apple's Future (4, Informative)

Trolan (42526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067880)

OpenSource for other projects, but not in the development of any of their products. Not if they could help it anyway.

Let's see...
- Darwin Streaming Server
- mDNSResponder
- ALAC
- Calendar and Contacts Server
- libdispatch / Grand Central Dispatch
- etc.

http://www.macosforge.org/ [macosforge.org] is where the more generally useful items outside of OSX wind up. FreeBSD picked up the libdispatch items and ran with it.

Re:Apple's Future (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067862)

apple's webkit is just a fork of KDE's KHTML

Seems to me like you're the one trying to rewrite history.

http://opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]

The depth of delusion on Slashdot surprises me to this day.

Anybody who's used Chrome or the web browser on Android has benefited from Apple's work on WebKit. But the zealots will try to rewrite history on that too.

Re:Apple's Future (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067522)

Dude, you do know Apple contributes to open source right, hello Webkit? That's just for starters.

How is it exclusive when the barrier to entry is the same as everything else; money. Yes it costs a little more, but they consider themselves a luxury brand, so buy it or don't. It's your choice just like everybody else's.

Re:Apple's Future (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067668)

Yea, you have to give credit where credit is due so...
Thank you for webkit, KDE.

Re:Apple's Future (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067662)

I hate to speak ill of the man so soon after death but I always felt Apple was always too restrained by him. Every thing they do is so closed and exclusive. They never extended a hand to the open source community. Yes, the same could have been said of Microsoft but Apple seemed off the deep end. This did offer some of the benefits of Job's vision but I think Apple may be poised in a better position now. Time will tell.

Jobs was entirely NON-open source. He was obsessive in needing the absolute control from beginning to end of any product, only in that way could the iPhone and iPad have become the successes they have. Apple succeeds because they product is entirely engineered by them, materials, components, software, hardware - Jobs hated the idea of having to be reliant upon a multiple of vendors who could do one thing slightly different, which would introduce changes in the software from device to device (say, a timing issue for internal storage) They wrote the specs and the vendor made it exactly the way they wanted it, period. Unlike Microsoft who let their OS run on some gargantuan possible combinations of hardware.

Jobs did understand that there was a significant market for a device people could just use, they didn't need to know where in the control panel to find ____. Had to be completely consumer oriented or nothing. I love Linux for what it allows me to do, but 99% of the people don't come close to my technical knowledge. The complete control to put everything into making a small number of models (based upon memory) allowed Jobs and Apple to focus in a way nobody else has.

Re:Apple's Future (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068118)

While I agree, one wrong point on your list: Hardware.

That was the big thing Jobs did: the move from expensive hardware to china-sweatshop-crap like everybody else does (move to Intel, iPod, iPhone, etc) while maintaining the (now) absurdly high consumer prices. Lots of hardware problems followed, the antenna thingie, recalled iPods (2 days ago), battery problems, etc.

THAT is the sole reason why apple is so successful measured in $$$, and that is all Jobs was interested in (yea, maintaining a "cool image" and getting his ideas through while being a smart guy was also important, but not as much). It is also the sole reason why apple won't matter except for retro fans 10 years from now on.

Apple has nothing money can't buy. In contrast to Nintendo, but they're Japanese, can't buy that.

Re:Apple's Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067694)

WebKit? ALAC? Calendar and Contacts Server?

Knowing Apple... (0)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067426)

...this would eventually make the entire Mobile Network privately own by Apple, and you'd all pay a traffic fee, even if you where the carrier of other peoples traffic. That's Apple.

Re:Knowing Apple... (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068220)

Lol, they would have tried for sure. But they would never have succeeded. They wanted an exclusive tmobile deal, but what now? I can buy a prepaid iPhone. Apple has no clue on how to win in the mobile market. What have they become? A phone manufacturer. They have no say about frequencies, carriers, protocols or prices. The mobile market is insane in the same way Japan is insane.

Huh (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067442)

I wrote an article (for a now-defunct tech news startup) predicting almost exactly this model, being built on top of the existing iChat voice / video architecture so you'd get free calls to Mac users and other iPhone users and only pay when calling a POTS number. I wondered in the article if it there was enough WiFi coverage for it to be able to compete with real mobile phones, even including some kind of mesh networking (which would impact the battery life). Then the iPhone came out and was a conventional phone. Good to know in hindsight that I was able to predict was Steve Jobs was thinking, even if I failed to predict what he did.

Not Really Possible (1)

colsandurz45 (1314477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067462)

The article doesn't mention anything regarding how this would actually work. There's no infrastructure and just because you don't need a license to operate in the 2.4 GHz ISM band doesn't mean you can just do whatever the hell you want, there are still rules.

Sprint has a market cap of about $9 billion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067520)

Apple could've bought a wireless company easy.

Titan of industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067568)

Breaking news: industry mogul wants to own the whole stack, outlaw competition. Details at 11.

I wish Steve would have tried (0)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067578)

And then be sued into bankruptcy by one of his trusted "corporate partners". I'd pay for an iPhone just to see that happen.

This is what I'll miss about SJ... (5, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067586)

Steve wasn't the greatest engineer, designer, or technologist but what he did do was think of what he saw as perfection and not waiver from it. This is the one thing I think all of us in tech really lost with his passing. Not even that what he came up with was always the best but the fact that he did dare to dream and then force it to fruition. So much of what we use and do came from his efforts even if they were taken or altered/improved upon.

That is a very impossible thing to pass on or keep going by someone else and I really hope we don't begin a period of stagnation and minor iterative changes or updates because we seriously all lose. Linux, MS, or Mac user.

Re:This is what I'll miss about SJ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067760)

I heard that someone drank the Kool Aid...

Re:This is what I'll miss about SJ... (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068160)

I actually don't own any Apple devices aside from an iPod Touch. So, no.

It's The Standards, Stupid (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067588)

More proof that Apple doesn't believe in interoperable standards.

Now who is surprised?

Re:It's The Standards, Stupid (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068504)

How would that be proof of anything? You've cited a single data point (which only exists as an unsubstantiated rumor) as proof of a trend that's allegedly endemic within the company.

I won't deny that they do use some standards that are not interoperable (e.g. their iBooks format), but most of their devices are designed to play nice with the major formats, protocols, and devices out there already, and many of their biggest protocols or formats are either shared or are available to other companies or developers interested in making their devices play with Apple's network or devices. For instance, Bluetooth and wi-fi are the same as everyone else's, AirPlay is available for device manufacturers to license, the AAC files iTunes uses run on a variety of players, their work on h.264 went on to become the industry standard, and their devices sync with OSes other than their own and a plethora of online services besides their own. That covers wireless communication, audio, video, and the cloud, and it'd be trivial to list off dozens of other industry standard file formats that they open up or export, just the same as the other major OSes.

If you had said it was proof of a proprietary solution to a problem, I'd have gone for that, but to suggest they're not interested in interoperability is either a misuse of the term or a choice to ignore almost everything they did from when Steve Jobs returned through to the present. I make no claims of them having embraced interoperability prior to that point, but since 1997 or so, they've made a number of strides towards making things as painless for consumers as possible, and that meant making their devices work with devices they hadn't made.

Ha! (0)

jarich (733129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067618)

Given Apple's love of the monopoly, you can bet it wouldn't be long before you could only call other iPhones. Cuz, you know, it improves the user experience. :)

removing the middleman (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067630)

this isn't even slightly surprising. the carrier is the #1 obstacle between Apple and their iPhone. It's the one aspect they have very little control over, (or that even has a bit of control over them) and I'm sure anyone at Apple would love to see an independent network to run their iPhones on.

Right now what does someone do if they get a lot of dropped calls? blame Apple. Sometimes it's Apple's fault like with the antennas, but Apple fixed that, because they could. What now? still getting dropped calls? AT&T sucks? There's really nothing Apple can do about that. Apple is completely dependent on the carriers to make their product work well, or work at all for that matter. Any business that has one of their flagship products held by the balls by a company they have little to no control over is naturally going to be looking for alternatives. It's not good when your company is at another company's mercy.

Multiverse (0)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067646)

Well, the Steve Jobs that executed that plan never made it to the top, so that's why Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs.
Perhaps the former had more luck in some other universe.

Or perhaps I just need to go to sleep.

Myopic (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067744)

One of the more profound ways that the iPhone changed the mobile industry was the fact that it upended the relationship between the handset maker and the wireless carrier: Apple sells many of its phones directly to customers, and in general has much more of an upper hand with carriers than most phone manufacturers.

Maybe in the United States, but in the rest of the world it's always been like this.

Great blurb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067796)

that whole article was basically summarized with the statement "venture capitalist John Stanton, who was friends with Steve Jobs in the years when the iPhone was in development, said the Apple CEO's initial vision was even more radical: he wanted Apple to build its own wireless network using unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, thus bypassing the carriers altogether"

I find it fascinating. I wonder if he used this as a threat when negotiating with ATT and the other carriers in the beginning. I'm surprised apple hasn't bought a wireless carrier yet. Maybe that is what their rainy day fun is about. I guess they're going to take as much money as they can from all the carriers, then build their own network and drive them out of business while selling them their hottest phone as they go under. If that's not the answer and I was a shareholder I would be demanding investment of their cash reserves as they don't seem to be doing much with their many billions. In terms of a vertical monopoly the carrier is one element apple is likely going to want as it is a key piece in the whole delivering content to a user thing they make money off of.

One Observation (0)

amalek (615708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067912)

That would be down-right fantastically, orgasmically, innovatingly cool IF not for the fact that Apple would go just whore it out everywhere.

Mod me down, bitches.

SJ vs BG (4, Insightful)

y2imm (700704) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067916)

The more I learn about Steve Jobs, the better Bill Gates looks.

Re:SJ vs BG (0)

amalek (615708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067954)

I wish I hadn't commented so I could mod you up ..

Nice (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067922)

Steve Jobs is one of the few people that could have pulled it off, I think this would have provided actually competition to occur and upset the current price fixing going on.

Use mesh networking! (1)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067958)

I had this idea once upon a time, still haven't gotten around to blogging it. The gist of it is that there's a whole bunch of newly (and pending) publicly available radio white space (up to a 50 mile radius at full power!), which could be used for wireless mesh networking [wikipedia.org] . Consider a few high-power fixed antennae blanketing an area as a pseudo-backbone, then delivered to people's home routers (which could use this and traditional (shorter-range) 802.11a/b/g/n wifi) which extend range, provide redundancy and alternate paths, etc, then go to the phones and other wireless devices.

Dead spots get cleaned up by adding new home routers, which extend the range of the blanketing backbones, and even phones and laptops can extend range in limited circumstances (limited to conserve battery life, maybe something like limiting data transfers to super-low bandwidth like SMS) .

Plop VoIP and IP TV atop this network layer and you've got a telco killer. Terminate VoIP and IP TV inside the mesh WLAN (e.g. via a few PBXs and some PVRs), add a caching web proxy, and you'll limit the external network traffic pretty significantly.

Re:Use mesh networking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068532)

exactly. I'm guessing that Jobs had Mesh Networking in mind as opposed to continuing on with the same physical architecture of cellular. Every device is a repeater...another hop on the internet. No more carriers. There are open source packages out there to turn laptops into wireless mesh devices. This setup was used fairly succesfully during recent upheaval in the middle east when internet access was shut down.

how much is 'Steve sucks' or the 'Telco's suck'? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068008)

Steve got railed by the PC segment back in the day and may have wanted to say efu and do an Apple only phone network too. But, the telco's are not known for fairness or general customer service and control the device makers by how they tie the phone to contracts. So Steve could have been trying to say screw that also. I know Google tried to break that telco-device tie in the US but it failed.

I'm going to figure that because it was early on in the iPhone development, it was Steve being Steve and wanting to move his monoculture into the phone segment.

LoB

perhaps Google had similar idea (4, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068082)

Google wanted to spend billions on spectrum. Google CEO was on Apple's board for a while.

Even more radical. (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068096)

His original iDea was to create an iNternet that would work only with iDevices. But he was thwarted.

Way to go SJ (0)

ramsesshadow (2495060) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068164)

WOW........ Way to go Steve Jobs! I say "Lets do it!!!!!"

1995 paged, wants its Apple data network back. (4, Interesting)

cstacy (534252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068312)

Apple used to have their own data network for their devices, about 17 years ago.
I remember using Apple devices on airplanes back then.

I thought it was the 80s, but I guess it was the 90s based on this press release I Googled:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/PAGENET+TO+PROVIDE+WIRELESS+NETWORK+SERVICES+FOR+APPLE+PRODUCT-a015985515 [thefreelibrary.com]

Shocking (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068336)

It's almost like Steve Jobs wanted some kind of walled garden or something where he can control all aspects of his products.

Jobs ... (0)

MaoTse (624765) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068358)

... visionary magician ...

Republic Wireless (1, Informative)

kerskine (46804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068368)

Republic Wireless is an new carrier (Virtual Network actually) that relies on its customers using Wifi for calls, texts, and other services http://republicwireless.com

I want it all (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068486)

Steve Jobs Wanted an iPhone-Only Wireless Network

And sharks with friggin' laser beams.

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