Apple Increases iPhone Download Limit to 20MB

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Apple (AAPL) has raised the maximum size of downloads to its iPhones from 10MB to 20MB, according to iPhone Atlas and a number of other media sources that speculate the new limit is in preparation for the launch of the iPad. The tablet computer is likely to run more complex applications because of its greater processor power.Apple had previously limited the size of downloads from its App Store to 10MB when its customers are on a 3G connection, which meant that a number of applications had to be downloaded over broadband to PCs for transfer to the handset, or the iPhone had to be connected to WiFi-delivered broadband.

The increased size is bound to further clog the wireless broadband systems of carriers like AT&T (T). So why would Apple potentially undermine the iPhone customer experience? The answer is simple: Almost all iPhone customers blame AT&T -- not Apple -- for connection speed problems and dropped calls.

The new download policy is likely to cause more friction between AT&T and Apple because it will force the telecom to consider upgrading its 3G systems more rapidly to keep up with customer demand, rather than suffer from further bad publicity over its wireless broadband service.

This latest move shows who is in the driver's seat in the Apple-AT&T relationship -- and it isn't the telecom. The relationship will slant even more in Apple's favor as the company presses the limits of the AT&T network with the iPad launch. If there are iPad connection speed problems, customers will want to know what AT&T is doing about them.
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