Apple plotting to cut carriers out of the iPhone game?

October 27th, 2010 at 6:31 PM  3 Comments

Is it possible Apple is plotting to cut carriers like AT&T out of the iPhone sales process in the next version of the iPhone? GigaOM seems to think so:

Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.

It’s rumored that Apple and Gemalto have created a SIM card, which is typically a chip that carries subscriber identification information for the carriers, that will be integrated into the iPhone itself.

Much like it helped cut operators out of the app store game, Apple could be taking them out of the device retail game. Yes, carriers will still have to allow the phone to operate on their networks, which appears to be why executives from various French carriers have been to Cupertino in recent weeks.

I’m not quite sure I see how this cuts them out, as you’d still need a contract unless everyone is going to start buying an iPhone that costs $700+ again, and the carriers decide to drop the prices of the plans. Yeah, right. Apple is Apple, and they have a lot of power to make people and companies do what they want but I fail to see how this is any kind of huge game changer.

If anything, it creates complications for those who want to unlock their phones. Really, this could be a good thing for the carriers who are locking in customers to their network. Although as exclusivity agreements begin to expire around the world and talk about an iPhone on Verizon in the United States becomes more assured, the market for iPhone unlocking could become less and less popular.

It’s a shame that we’ve come so far towards standardizing things like SIM cards, power chargers, and other technologies for mobile devices yet Apple manages to push everything in a different direction just for the sake of thinking different.