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Apple CEO has live technical issues

John D. Sutter
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Steve Jobs not immune to network crashes
  • Apple CEO Steve Jobs has internet trouble during a presentation
  • Jobs was debuting the iPhone 4 at an event in San Francisco
  • Wi-Fi troubles stop his presentation at one point
  • Jobs asks conference attendees to get off network so he can continue

San Francisco, California (CNN) -- Just after Apple CEO Steve Jobs debuted the next version of his company's iPhone to the world, the tech luminary had a bit of technical trouble.

"Well jeez," Jobs said, struggling to get the spanking new iPhone 4 to do much of anything without a connection to a Wi-Fi network.

The technical faux pas came during Jobs' keynote address at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

At one point, Jobs turned toward the audience and seemed to ask a question of one of his technical directors: "Got any suggestions?" he asked.

"Verizon!" shouted an audience member, in reference to the fact that AT&T, the sole cellular network that carriers the Apple iPhone, gets notoriously bad reception in San Francisco. Many tech bloggers and writers have called for Apple to open the iPhone to other networks, including Verizon Wireless.

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That didn't happen on Monday. The new iPhone will remain an AT&T-only device. It goes on sale on June 24 to AT&T customers for $199 or $299, depending on the amount of storage. Any AT&T customer eligible for a phone upgrade this year can get the iPhone 4 on its debut date at those subsidized prices, Jobs said.

After the event, tech industry analysts warned against reading too much into the network glitches during Jobs' presentation.

But, if nothing else, they do symbolize the growing frustration some phone consumers have over the lack of choice among wireless carriers. In a recent interview, for instance, Kevin Tofel, a blogger in the GigaOm network, said it is smartest for consumers to pick a wireless carrier first, rather than get the coolest phone.

Otherwise, they're buying an "expensive brick," he said.

Analysts said Jobs was having trouble connecting to a Wi-Fi network during his presentation, not AT&T's troubled 3G network.

"It's Wi-Fi," said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner. "You had so many people in there using Wi-Fi. I didn't read too much into it."

Of AT&T, she laughed and said, "It's not always their fault."

Van Baker, research vice-president for Gartner, said the "Verizon!" comment from the audience was "totally unfair ... because it's not going over the 3G network."

Jobs eventually resolved the issue himself.

In a joking yet stern tone, he asked reporters and conference attendees to stop using Wi-Fi networks so that he could finish the presentation. Some 570 Wi-Fi stations were clogging up the connection he needed to complete the presentation, he said.

If the attendees didn't comply, he said, he would simply not be able to show off the rest of the iPhone 4's new features, including its higher-resolution screen, improved camera and video chat functionality -- which, by the way, is only available over Wi-Fi.


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