Now Delivering Photos: AT&T Brings MMS To Apple iPhone

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The long national iPhone nightmare has finally ended, with AT&T and Apple delivering MMS to smartphones all over the country.

The first indication that MMS had gone into general availability for iPhone users seemed to have come shortly after 1 p.m. ET, with Apple iTunes offering to update the carrier settings for the iPhone. By clicking download on that message, the magic of MMS lands on the iPhone after just three iterations of the smartphone.

In order to update the iPhone to handle MMS, the device must be plugged into iTunes. If a dialog box doesn't appear immediately, click "check for update." A dialog box will then appear with the message: "An update to the carrier settings for your iPhone is available. Would you like to download it now?" Clicking "download and update" will bring the software updates to the smartphone.

Once the download is complete, the Apple iPhone needs to be rebooted. Once the reboot is complete, MMS functionality has been enabled and users can start sending those picture messages.

Now that MMS functionality is available on the iPhone, all eyes are turning toward the telecom's network. Reports recently surfaced that AT&T was worried that the influx of picture messages would bring its network to its knees.

AT&T has likely had since at least June of this year to upgrade its infrastructure to support MMS on the iPhone -- something it already does for nearly every other phone in its portfolio. Realistically, however, it doesn't seem out of line to speculate that the carrier was aware of Apple's plans to bring MMS to the iPhone well ahead of its official launch. After all, AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the device.

Depending on how AT&T handles the increase in network traffic, it could bode well for the telecom's long-term relationship with Apple. The iPhone has been a bright spot for AT&T's earnings and a successful rollout could help the company make its case to extend the exclusive agreement it has in place with Apple, which is due to expire at the end of 2010.

Friday could be an important day for AT&T to keep Apple from ditching it for Verizon Wireless.

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