Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

Summary: The Apple iPhone took the smartphone world by storm 3 years ago, but seems to have hit a stagnant point as the device is only available on a single US wireless carrier. This exclusivity is seen in only one out of the six major smartphone platforms. Is it time for Apple to add more carriers?

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Jason Hiner wrote up a good article discussing the current state of smartphone platforms and wondering if Android was going to turn into the Windows of the smartphone world. As Jason pointed out Nokia and RIM still rule the world in market share, but not in mind share as Google Android and Apple iPhone powered devices seem to grab all the recent headlines and generate the most excitement. I agree with him that we will continue to see most, if not all, of the current smartphone operating systems (Symbian, iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, BlackBerry, webOS) survive in varying levels, but the article did make me think of one key factor in this list that may be holding back one mobile operating system from jumping to the top of the heap and taking the world by storm. Out of these existing six major smartphone operating systems, it is ONLY Apple that has their devices out on a SINGLE US wireless carrier. For the rest you can find devices running their operating systems on at least two and up to four of the major US wireless carriers.

I tried in the past to switch my family to AT&T, but the daily dropped calls were unacceptable. Coworkers with iPhones say that they rarely make phone calls and send text and email instead because calls drop all the time. Apple has helped AT&T bring in and keep customers who are not even happy with their service, but find the device and operating so compelling that they are willing to put up with substandard service. There are rumors that Verizon may eventually get the iPhone and hopes that Sprint and T-Mobile may even see some iPhone love, but I have a tough time believing we will see an iPhone outside of AT&T until at least 2011. I hope that I am wrong, but we will have to wait until 7 June to find out anything more about that.

I do have an iPhone 3GS at the moment, but I unlocked it to use it on T-Mobile and have not had a dropped call with it yet. This is the same device that was dropping calls on AT&T all the time so it is not a hardware issue. I know I personally would jump all over an iPhone on T-Mobile and may even pick one up on Verizon or Sprint if the pricing plans were right. I highly suspect I am not alone here and know the iPhone would sell like hotcakes on other carriers too. Here are some questions I have about this whole Apple and AT&T exclusivity:

  1. Is Apple really satisfied with AT&T as their only partner?
  2. Can't Apple see that they would probably jump to 50%+ of the US market share if they rolled out across all four major carriers?
  3. Will we ever see the iPhone on another carrier?

Google Android news dominates the headlines today and IMHO the hardware from HTC and software from Google have now bested the iPhone in the smartphone game. Granted, Apple may reveal something amazing in a couple of weeks in an attempt to reclaim the top, but I don't think what we saw with the iPhone 4 update is enough to do it alone. The Google Android 2.2 update brings several improvements to that platform and Google and manufacturers are not sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what Apple may do. If the new iPhone does have video conferencing capability and Apple sticks with just AT&T I have major concerns that the network will be dragged down even further into the abyss.

Topics: Hardware, Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, AT&T

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53 comments
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  • Would I Rule the World with A 12 Inch Penis?

    Maybe, but that's not gonna happen, either.
    tricktytom
  • Not interested in iPhone

    Doesn't matter to me, I wouldn't have an iPhone, regardless of the carrier.
    roteague
  • iPhone hardware IS the problem

    [i]I do have an iPhone 3GS at the moment, but I unlocked it to use it on T-Mobile and have not had a dropped call with it yet. This is the same device that was dropping calls on AT&T all the time so it is not a hardware issue.[/i]

    As has been proven time and time again, the iPhone design is fatally flawed. With a strong signal, an iPhone will work okay (as you experienced on T-Mobile) but as soon as your signal strength starts weakening, an iPhone will lose its connection [b]far[/b] sooner than any other phone. So yes, it [b]IS[/b] a hardware issue. Cell phones [b]shouldn't[/b] drop calls when the signal strength dips slightly. iPhone does.
    NonZealot
    • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

      @NonZealot <br><br>That's funny as I've had many hour long iPhone calls while driving. On AT&T even. Even across state lines just this past weekend. And anyone who has had a cell call on the highway knows signal varies a lot and quickly. Blows that "theory" right out the window, huh?
      itguy08
      • Nope, even Apple admits there is a problem

        @itguy08
        After analyzing iPhone call logs, even Apple admits that there is a huge problem with the iPhone. Take it up with Apple if you have a problem with this "theory".

        However, I'll admit that the iPhone hardware is perfect based on your anecdotal evidence if you will admit that Windows security is perfect based on my anecdotal evidence that I've been using Windows for 15 years and have never been hit with any malware. If you won't admit that, I see no reason why I should believe your "story".
        NonZealot
      • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

        @NonZealot <br><br>Please provide documention disucssing this iPhone issue.<br><br>Look forward to the read.<br><br>Your hero,
        maskman01
      • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

        @itguy08

        Never said the hardware is perfect. Just that it's not a widespread problem. If it were, it would be all over the news and it's not.
        itguy08
    • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

      A lot of people dont realize this but if they disable 3G on their iPhone the voice connection would be much more stable. That is the same as putting a T-Mobile SIM in the iPhone because the Iphone is not compatible with T-Mobile's 3G band it will connect to a 2G tower which all the carriers have plenty of.

      @NonZealot
      vinunleaded0301
    • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

      Did you even bother to look at the *VERY* small areas that AT&T covers with 3G?

      It is *IMPOSSIBLE* to get AT&T 3G in countless locations... with any phone.

      http://vzwmap.verizonwireless.com/dotcom/coveragelocator/images/maps/3Gcomparison.pdf
      CathyCC
      • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

        @CathyCC Why not post a link to the AT&T site rather than a VZW site? But wait, that would be biased and we ALL know that VZW would not post a map that was not factual about their competitor, right?
        athynz
      • Try and take a call on that Verizon 3G while

        surfing the web and let me know how it goes.
        frgough
    • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

      @NonZealot Really? Proven time and time again? Seriously? Then it should be NO trouble for you to provide proof then. Otherwise I'll just file this under typical NZ FUD, lies, and anti apple rhetoric
      athynz
  • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

    I don't agree that Apple will do that much better selling iPhone at other carriers. Currently, if you walk into AT&T planning to buy a smartphone, you really has only one logical choice of handset. However, if you walk into a Verizon store that also sell iPhone, you have many other good phone choices. I understand there will be iPhone lovers who would buy an iPhone in whatever carrier they walk into but those are still the minority. Once Apple started selling iPhone at other carrier, AT&T will be free to bring in nice Android devices which equal to less people buying iPhone.
    saint168
    • Pretty much every smart phon you can buy on Verizon

      you can also buy on AT&T. Only nobody does. Hmmm. Interesting.
      frgough
    • Clearly you have not been in an AT&T store

      @saint168
      AT&T sells many competing phones to the iPhone. This is a one way exclusive agreement, ATT sells many different smart phones from blackberry to LG and many more. The iPhone happens to be the most prominent phone that they sell.
      John J. Jordan
  • Exclusivity with AT&T is a strategic error

    I think it is a strategic error not to have the iPhone, on most/all of the US carriers

    iPhone customers buy apps, consume music/videos, read ebooks, etc., and are likely to stay with an iPhone to protect their investment in apps & media (i.e. they have the potential to become long term customers).

    I'm an Android fan, but fierce competition between iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. is likely to result in better smartphones, prices & services for everyone.
    linuser
  • Proprietary Content Channel

    Have to still lock myself into a proprietary channel if the iPhone goes to another carrier. Let me think.......nope. It is my music, my book, my video. I should be able to take to with me to any other platform if I choose to.
    educationtalk
    • same bs all over again

      @educationtalk
      you can take your music bought on itunes to any other device that happens to understand the modern aac format (any smartphone, most current pmp). ebooks and videos however are protected by drm (thanks to the copyright owners) which means you can't move any content from one platform to another. not your kindle books and not your amazon videos and none of your other content that maybe some day will be available on the android market. wallet garden? all of them.

      by the way you can't play your ps3 games on an xbox or wii either.
      banned from zdnet
  • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

    I'd agree with saint168. For the past 2 years you could walk into an AT&T store and the only real good smartphone was the iPhone. You didn't really have a good selection of multi-touch screen smartphones at the time. Today, competition is heating up as the Palm Pre Plus is now available through AT&T. Also, the Android HTC Incredible has far better hardware features than the iPhone. Android marketing is strong and sales will or has already surpassed iPhones. Most consumers will flock to the device that has the most hype - and Android smartphones have certainly stepped up this season.
    anonymous
    • RE: Would the iPhone rule the world if Apple broke AT&T exclusivity?

      @zdnetviewer

      "Android marketing is strong and sales will or has already surpassed iPhones."

      hyuk... Hyuk. You mean android giveaways have been strong. You do know that whatever growth android has seen is mainly due to the BOGO deal out on verizon. It's easy to increase market share when u give stuff away for free. HA HA.
      rhegde75