• Apple Quietly Raises 3G Download Cap to 20MB

    The download limit for iPhone applications installed via the phone's 3G connection has been increased to 20MB, according to numerous user reports. Up to this point, any time a user tried to download over 10MB, they received a message directing them to connect to a Wi-Fi network or use iTunes on their computer. The increased cap appears to be for apps as well as media downloaded from the iTunes Store. Coming just ahead of the launch of the iPad, the relaxed limit will be of benefit to developers who are creating large-format apps. As 3G-capable iPads come on the market starting in April, designers whose apps are larger than 10 MB in size will be able to offer new iPad owners the immediate gratification of direct downloads.

    The higher limit comes as part of an overall pattern recently of Apple and AT&T loosening restrictions on 3G-enabled apps. Last month VoIP applications that use the 3G connection for calls were finally permitted on the App Store, and AT&T just recently gave its OK to the Slingbox video-streaming app.

    Following on the heels of AT&T's announcement that it's investing significantly in boosting its network infrastructure, this may suggest greater confidence on Apple's part that its carrier partner is ready to support the iPad's data requirements. Recently, officials at the US Federal Communications Commission worried publicly that the iPad would add so much load to the network that it would "choke off" mobile broadband access.

    The greater limit should encourage developers to take advantage of the new device's capabilities. As Pocket Gamerís Spanner Spencer remarked:

    Double the available app size for remote users should therefore make for some doubly impressive products. In all likelyhood this is in preparation for the inherently larger size of iPad games and apps.
    However, many apps are already significantly larger than 20MB, so the need for WiFi or desktop downloads has and will continue. As Darrell Etherington at theAppleBlog speculates, though, between 10 and 20MB may be a "sweet spot" for the " visually rich e-book and e-magazine content" that Steve Jobs and Apple have been touting for the iPad.

    image via CNET
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