Venture capitalist John Stanton revealed an interesting bit of information at a seminar in 2011: Steve Jobs originally wanted to launch the iPhone on its own network and eschew the traditional partnerships with established cell phone carriers [source: Gadget Lab]. This would let Apple create a device without making compromises to any other entity. An iPhone owner wouldn't have to worry about features being omitted or cut back because of a disagreement between Apple and another company.
According to Stanton, Jobs explored the possibility of creating a smartphone network using existing WiFi networks. Ultimately, Jobs concluded such a path wasn't viable. But what if Apple were to try again?
A carrier-free iPhone might include functions that some cell phone carriers prefer remain absent from phones, such as tethering the smartphone to other devices to act as a sort of WiFi modem. But such a business model would require careful work on Apple's part. The company would have to create billing procedures and prices. Without the support of carriers, customers might be faced with a smartphone that costs much more money. And the shift away from traditional carriers could have massive economic consequences further down the road.
Could we see a carrier-free phone in the future? Is Apple willing to risk burning bridges with traditional carriers launching such a product should it prove to be feasible? Or is that the sort of move we'd only expect from a giant like Google? We'll have to wait and see.
More Great Links
- Bonnington, Christina. "Steve Jobs Wanted iPhone On Its Own Network, Carrier-Free." Gadget Lab, Wired. Nov. 15, 2011. (Dec. 1, 2011) http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/11/steve-jobs-iphone-no-carrier/
- Buckely, Sean. "Nintendo's eShop plans: premium DLC, game demos, smartphone shopping, relevancy." Engadget. Oct. 28, 2011. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/28/nintendos-eshop-plans-premium-dlc-game-demos-smartphone-shop/
- Cheng, Roger. "Android super smartphones: Too much of a good thing?" CNET. Oct. 19, 2011. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20122716-94/android-super-smartphones-too-much-of-a-good-thing/
- Choney, Suzanne. "The rise of the super-smartphone." MSNBC. March 18, 2010. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35911724/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/t/rise-super-smartphone/#.TuJ4J5ua9GU
- Earley, Dustin. "Game over: Smartphone game revenue leaves Nintendo and Sony in the dust." Android and Me. Nov. 9, 2011. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://androidandme.com/2011/11/news/game-over-smartphone-game-revenue-leaves-nintendo-and-sony-in-the-dust/
- Gannes, Liz and Fried, Ina. "The Facebook Phone: It's Finally Real and It's Name is Buffy." All Things D. Nov.15, 2011. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://allthingsd.com/20111121/the-facebook-phone-its-finally-real-and-its-name-is-buffy/
- Haselton, Todd. "An Amazon Smartphone? It Could Happen Next Year, Analysts Say." Fox News. Nov. 17, 2011. (Dec. 1, 2011) http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/11/17/amazon-smartphone-it-could-happen-next-year-analyst-says/
- Leckness, Chris. "Xbox Companion for Windows Phone and Xbox Dashboard Update." Gotta Be Mobile. Dec. 9, 2011. (Dec. 9, 2011) http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/12/09/xbox-companion-for-windows-phone-and-xbox-dashboard-update-video/
- Lowensohn, Josh. "Nintendo CEO re-affirms no smartphone games plan." CNET. Sept. 15, 2011. (Dec. 2, 2011) http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20106888-248/nintendo-ceo-re-affirms-no-smartphone-games-plan/
HowStuffWorks looks at some new and creative uses for those old smartphones and cellphones you have lying around.