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The iPhone Is Beautiful, But It's Also Slow

When Apple's iPhone moves out of its enclosed glass showcases and into the hands of Cingular Wireless subscribers, subscribers will undoubtedly love the beautifully designed and functional smartphone. But much of the time they may be stuck with the very slow speeds of Cingular's Edge offering.

Edge stands for Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution. Edge is the European-developed mobile phone infrastructure that is dominant throughout the world. T-Mobile also uses Edge in the U.S.

However, EV-DO, used by both Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S., is up to five times faster than Edge networks. Cingular and other GSM-based mobile phone service providers are working on infrastructure technologies that will speed up their networks, but no significant breakthroughs are expected in time for the formal delivery of the iPhone in June.

Apple has built in a workaround of sorts because it's including Wi-Fi capability in the phone, which will give users high-speed data connectivity. But users will have to find a Wi-Fi hotspot to take advantage of the faster speeds on the iPhone.

"Users can surf the Web from just about anywhere over Wi-Fi or Edge, and can automatically sync their bookmarks from their PC," Apple said in announcing the iPhone Tuesday.

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