Return of the Apple iPhone Rumors

I suppose it’s possible that Apple could be working with Cingular on a mobile phone sold exclusively by the latter. Almost anything is possible.

It isn’t probable, however, and David Pogue does a commendable job explaining why on his New York Times blog. As Pogue opines:

The problem is that when you build a cellphone, the carriers (Verizon, Cingular, etc.) have veto power over EVERY move you make. You have to fight, wheedle, cajole, beg, demo, refine, lather, rinse, repeat…all in hopes that the carriers will accept your design–and stock your phone.

I cannot imagine Apple giving veto power to ANYONE over its software design. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Pogue’s reasoning is sound.

It’s unlikely that Apple would be able to make the endless design compromises and business accommodations that are conceded on a regular basis by mobile-phone market leaders such as Nokia and Motorola. Those companies, too, would enthusiastically embrace more creative freedom, and more business latitude, in their relationships with wireless operators, but they know such a favorable state of affairs is unlikely to materialize.

In the world as we find it today, wireless operators control the relationship with the mobile-phone customer. Handset vendors are equipment suppliers, and their customers, unfortunately, are the wireless operators, not the ultimate consumers of their products. They’re at one remove from the customer.

Is that a situation that Apple would amenable? Even if did, is there any reasonable expectation that the bastardized and neutered products that eventually filtered through the process would meet the aesthetic and functional standards of Apple’s iPod and other products?

Don’t get excited about the prospect of an Apple iPhone. Even in the remote likelihood that it comes to pass, it won’t be up to Apple’s usual standards. Remember the ROKR? Well, you’d probably see an incremental improvement on something like that.

Perhaps it’s better than Apple stay away from the mobile-phone market, at least for now.


One response to “Return of the Apple iPhone Rumors

  1. I do not intend to point out your obvious mistake here, but with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, lets consider the sound logic that Pogue embraced to dispel a iPhone concept: That Apple would not be willing to make concessions to a providor, and (more importantly) that the providor is the one with the access to the consumer.
    This is the key here, because Apple has taken that away from AT&T. Now, with itunes becoming the bridge program, and OSX the operating system, and WIFI capability giving the user access to the world, the iPhone and apple are all but autonomous from the provider. Cingular is lucky to have gotten ahold of this because its not going to be a hard algorithm to figure out how to make Skype calls off an internet capable cell phone.

    I am not calling you shortsighted at all. Far from it, the logical conclusion was that Apple would not want to give up creative control. Obviously they won’t. But for the future, I think the world needs to realize all the rules are changing. Cingular better love this deal while they have it, because soon it will be the carriers who are left only the rural coverage areas as WIFI covers whole cities and clever phone manufacturers figure out that the internet is just as capable of handling telephone conversations – without a two year contract or inner-city customer service personnel.

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