Friday, September 18, 2009

Multimedia messaging will be available on the iPhone

Multimedia messaging will be available on the iPhone starting Sept. 25, according to AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the popular smartphone in the United States.

"We’ve been working for the past several months to prepare our systems and network to ensure the best possible experience with MMS when it launches," AT&T said on its Web site. "We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS."

"Embrace" might be an understatement. Users of the iPhone have been waiting patiently for the feature. For years, many phones have had the ability to send photos, videos and audio files along with text messages, which is known as multimedia messaging.

Last spring, Apple said MMS for photos and audio files — but not video — would be among the new features of the iPhone 3.0 software, released in June. AT&T said the feature would be enabled by the end of summer.

In recent weeks, two class-action lawsuits were filed against AT&T and Apple over the delay of MMS. The suits, one filed in a U.S. District Court in Louisiana, the other in a federal district court in Illinois, contend that consumers were misled about MMS availability.

Multimedia messaging will work on both the iPhone 3G, released in 2008, and the iPhone 3GS, which came out in July. Apple says MMS will not work on first-generation iPhones, those released in 2007, because of the phone's hardware.

The iPhone is already one of the most data-intensive smartphones, not only because of Web surfing and e-mail, but because users have tens of thousands of programs, or "apps" they can choose to add to the phone from Apple's App Store.

"The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One," said AT&T. "We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end.