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Apple will release 3G version of its Apple iPhone cellular phone in 2008, said chief executive of AT&T, the exclusive carrier that sells iPhone in the U.S. The new phone will allows faster Internet access, but fans of Apple and iPhone are likely to demand something else too.

“You’ll have [Apple iPhone 3G] next year,” said AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson in response to a question about when the 3G iPhone would debut. He said he did not know how much more the new version will cost compared to the existing model, which sells for $399, but indicated that Apple “will dictate what the price of the phone is”, reports Bloomberg news-agency.

The ability to work with third-generation wireless networks will give Apple iPhone an opportunity to compete for customers who often use data intensive services, such as web-browsing of “data heavy” web-sites and downloading music from the Internet on the go. Currently Apple iPhone relies on much slower GPRS and EDGE networks, something, which essentially makes useless data transfer intensive functions of the device, such as Google Earth or YouTube Web applications. Currently, the lack of 3G data transfer rates is likely to trim iPhone’s popularity in Asia and Europe.

While any version of 3G network connection (EVDO, HSDPA, etc) will indisputably improve user experience with iPhone by boosting network connection speed, end-users, who already have an iPhone would probably insist on some other additional features for the device that has become a cult one for some people. Perhaps, making a cell phone that would work in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and other regions could be a goal for the next iPhone.

Officials from Apple did not comment on the news-story.

Apple iPhone combines digital media player, phone, Web browser and personal digital assistant’s features. The device is equipped with 3.5” touch-screen instead of keypad, includes support for quad-band GSM, EDGE, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR wireless technologies. The iPhone also features a 2 megapixel (2MP) camera along with a photo management application. Apple iPhone costs $399 in the U.S. and various sums in the rest of the world.

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