Slow connections, 3G turning to 2.5G, and dropped calls. Is the Apple 3G phone fatally flawed? I've been using the 3G iPhone since it came out on July 11. And yes I get dropped calls and poor signal strength in many locations, just the same as others report.
And while the iPhone may be partly responsible I think some of the concerns are misplaced. I tried using AT&T's 3G Blackjack. It's an excellent phone that's made by Samsung and in its 3rd revision, compared to the 3G iPhone that's been out just six weeks. It's mature, proven and uses Qualcomm chips. I've been doing a side-by-side comparison, using each to make and receive calls. From what I can tell it's about 10-15% better than the Apple for reception and call quality.
That tells me that the 3G iPhone is far from seriously flawed. Yes, Apple could have used Qualcomm's more proven chips and would likely have had better performance than the Infineon chip they chose. (Probably selected for its lower price and because Apple likes suppliers it can dominate.)
I think a major culprit is AT&T's 3G network. It's far from perfect; it's not everywhere, mostly in major metropolitan areas, and it's not as good as the 3G networks from Verizon and Sprint. Expectations and hype got ahead of reality.
You rarely know all of the problems you'll encounter until you put a new product in the hands of thousands, particularly something so complex and significant. Knowing it is the first step to fixing it.