Testing the iPhone's New Wireless iTunes Downloads

Today iPhone users can download music from iTunes not just through their computers or Wi-Fi, but AT&T's 3G network. So how does it work? Testing it in Vegas, we can say rocky but functional.

I tried downloading Radiohead's Bodysnatchers in an area providing 3 bars of 3G reception. With no fanfare, I was able to enter the iTunes store without a Wi-Fi hotspot and purchase the song.

So far, so good. No firmware updates needed or anything!

Then the download stalled for a moment. Then the iPhone pulled that classic "you're on 3G, oops, you're really on EDGE" maneuver. I wondered what would happen. Would the download stall and wait for 3G? Or would it slowly trudge on?

It trudged on. I guess that's both a good an a bad thing. While I was able to download the song, it took me nearly 10 minutes to grab the 3.7MB file. Wilson Rothman ran the same test from nearby and was also booted to EDGE, though the download only took him about 5 minutes.

Overall, I'm glad that truly wireless iTunes downloads are here. Hopefully more and better 3G coverage will make them live up to the generally pleasant iTunes experience. [Gizmodo Macworld 2009 Coverage]