The iPhone may have launched two years ago, but today it is getting one of the most basic cellphone features — MMS, or multimedia messaging service. Now users will be able to send and receive pictures by text message, rather than just by email.
While that may not sound like a big deal, it is for the simple fact that it has taken so long for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), and then AT&T (NYSE: T), to implement. At an Apple event in March, the company said MMS would be turned on carrier-by-carrier around the world. AT&T has been dragging its feet on the matter, first saying it would be rolled out by this summer, and then revising its date to today, which is technically fall. The reason is because AT&T fears the network might sputter under the collapse of users sending photos rapid fire. According to DSLreports.com, a source said “AT&T is “very” nervous about the launch and is requesting their MMS aggregator partners provide hourly updates on any message delays or problems. AT&T and its MMS partners are already seeing “record traffic during peak hours of the night” with just the users selected for testing.”
That’s a bit of a surprise given that MMS hasn’t really taken off on most other phones. Likely because they cost an additional fee beyond a regular text message. AT&T is charging 30 cents for an individual message, and $20 a month for unlimited messages. But with the iPhone anything is possible, and in this case, as you may suspect, Apple has taken MMS one step further. Instead of strictly being limited to sending photos, or graphics, Apple has upped the ante and allows you to send maps and other graphic rich multimedia. To get access to MMS, you’ll have to sync your phone to iTunes. AT&T has the details on its Facebook page. Gizmodo walks you through the process here.