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iPhone Clears FCC Hurdle

iPhone Clears FCC Hurdle

Apple's iPhone has passed the FCC's functionality tests, adding credence to Apple's continued assertions that the device will be ready to go by the promised late-June ship date. An FCC clearance doesn't necessarily mean the phone is finished, but cellular functionality was the only technology in the iPhone in which Apple has relatively little experience and may have been one of its more challenging hurdles.

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
05/18/07 11:21 AM PT

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Apple's iPhone for sale in the U.S., according to FCC documents.

The documents surfaced shortly after a false rumor started this week on the gadget blog Engadget.com that Apple's iPhone delivery would be delayed for months. Apple denied any delays, and the FCC documents add evidence to that assertion.

Just because the FCC has approved the device doesn't necessarily mean Apple has the product in stock and ready to roll in a public launch; however, because the iPhone's core phone functionality meets regulations, the odds are good that the iPhone is either ready or nearing readiness for mass production.

The cellular functionality is the only technology in the iPhone that Apple is relatively inexperienced at producing. Clearing that hurdle eliminates a potentially large reason for Apple to fail to deliver.

Cingular Confirms

"We've said all along, both we and Apple, that the phone is on track for the launch in the latter part of June, and that's where we are," Mark Siegel, the executive director of media and analyst relations for Cingular, told MacNewsWorld. Cingular is the only cellular service carrier that will offer the iPhone during this summer's launch. "You shouldn't believe in everything you read on these blogs."

The iPhone will be a GSM cellular telephone with Bluetooth, WiFi and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) data standard, which is about half as fast as Cingular's upgraded networks that zip at 500 kb/sec for downloads. Despite less-than-best speed performance, the iPhone still seems to hold massive customer interest.

"We've had about a million people who have expressed interest by leaving information on our Web site, and obviously we think that is an indication of pent-up demand," Siegel noted. "It's exciting."

'A Substantial Discount'

Current Cingular wireless customers eligible for a phone upgrade should be able to buy the iPhone at a discounted price if they renew or extend their contracts.

Cingular hasn't provided details but has previously noted that a two-year contract renewal should earn the buyer "a substantial discount" on the iPhone.

Customers will also be able to buy the iPhone at full retail cost. The 4 GB model iPhone is US$499 while the 8 GB is $599.

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