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Why Didn’t Apple Have Their Own Wi-Fi At The Keynote?

by Sean P. Aune | June 11, 2010June 11, 2010 4:02 pm PDT

Amidst all the excitement over the iPhone 4 announcement on June 4th, there was one other interesting side note: The total meltdown of the Wi-Fi.

It isn’t totally clear how the snafu happened, but there is no doubt it was embarrassing as Steve Jobs is nothing if not a showman, and having his dog and pony show interrupted by poor Wi-Fi is sure to have displeased him.  He says in the above video that there were 570 Wi-Fi base stations operating in the room, and he specifically mentions devices like the MiFi as potential culprits.  Why were so many people doing that?  Why couldn’t they contend with it?

iPhone 4 Wi-Fi MeltdownTo first answer why so many people were running their own Wi-Fi, well, that’s pretty simple really. Locations such as Moscone West usually have their own Wi-Fi set up, but when you have that many people trying to get on a network, it is almost never going to work properly.  Even if you can get on, it’s probably going to be painfully slow at best.  Bringing your own 3G-to-Wi-Fi device makes a lot of sense, but then you have 570 devices all fighting to build their own networks in the same frequency band, things are bound to conflict.

I wouldn’t be too surprised next year, and at all other future Apple events, to see them set up their own Wi-Fi network with repeaters and tell bloggers and journalists that their own personal Wi-Fi transmitters are banned.  The idea of Steve Jobs having egg on his face twice is just not going to happen, that we can pretty much assure you.

As to why they didn’t do this already, well, did you ever think 570 MiFi type devices would be in a room at the same time?  I wasn’t sure if they had even sold that many of them, let alone they would all be at one place at the same time.

I think a couple lessons were learned here:

  • Convention centers need better Wi-Fi
  • Keep in mind if you’re transmitting your own Wi-Fi, more than likely someone else is also

What say you?  Should Apple have planned ahead for this possible scenario?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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