For some strange reason, the hot new subject is the potential firmware update to the iPhone that would unlock the latent 3G capabilities of the device. This wasn't something stated, or even hinted at, by Apple, but rather the fruit of speculation of many separate minds.
Apple has clearly stated that it plans to offer software update to improve and add to the features of the iPhone. This should be easily done
since the device uses OS X and can be updated via iTunes. But if software updates are possible, couldn't the same method be used to unlock hidden abilities within the device?
The issue here is not whether or not this would be possible in theory, because it most certainly would, but rather whether the iPhone has any latent abilities that could thus be activated.
The iPhone has no 3G capabilities and Apple has stated their reasons for this choice. The question many are asking is whether the hardware is actually capable of 3G, but is not set up to do so. The answer is all in the chips and while there have been several tear-down analyses of the iPhone, none of them found any evidence that the chips inside the device were capable of supporting 3G. Should the chips be able to support it, then it could be activated at a later time.
There is no mention of 3G in the FCC testing of the device, but the important information is classified and Apple could in theory have the device approved without 3G capabilities, only to have these tested and certified at a later date.
In the end, Apple was definitely right about the choices they made, and while 3G does offer advantages, it also has disadvantages. Including the capabilities only to have them activated at a later time would be a great move from a marketing point of view, and it would further send home the message that this device is very different from any other. However, if it doesn't come to pass, it won't make any difference either way because the iPhone already has WiFi built in, which tops everything else for speed.