The iPhone is a great success story that has had a happy beginning long before the App Store. Now, it is just cleaning up the industry with great sales despite a saturating market and cool economic climate. Well, AT&T are weighing their options as the exclusive deal with Apple is fast approaching a 2010 close. The bottom line for the telecom giant is that it wants Apple’s iPhone again. For either giant, this upcoming rift is a both an opportunity and a blackhole of trepidation.
Apple thrive on exclusivity which shows its brand in a high-class light and to forces other vendors to scramble for a piece of their leftovers or touch of the Jesus Phone’s garment. And AT&T? Well, they love the money. Currently, basking in the iPhone glow and the US mobile market which has seen smartphone sales climb to 23% in 2008 from 12% in the year before, AT&T see the need for devices like Apple’s. In the United States, there are sure to be long talks, big decisions and for those who don’t make the right ones: redundancies. AT&T are now servicing more mobile phones than they are landlines – another reason to not only push for exclusive deals with high-profile makers, but to make sure that those devices remain in their backyard. If they cannot secure Apple’s iPhone after the 2010 in the United States, the cornerstone of their smart phone business will be lost and in this uncertain climate, the mobile house will be seriously hurt.
Apple, yet without physical resources enough to provide their own domestic mobile network, remain dependent on outside help to distribute service to iPhone users. Despite this need for service, no one company can hold down the iPhone for too long as it was not meant for this world. However, an Apple who would distribute their miracle mobile to the poor and hurting among AT&T competitors would also tarnish an immaculate record and fantastic underdog story. Revenue and market pace would likely outrun current standards if Apple were to sell their phone to other providers, but to a company for whom image is everything, Apple might be looked on as a sell-out company. Also, a precedent set by Apple in the USA would likely spill to other countries. Ultimately, market satisfaction and customer satisfaction are different items.
That said, 2009 will be the biggest year for the iPhone in terms of sheer upgrades. 3.0 and hardware snap-on, P2P, copy and paste and a host of other features will sweeten the pot for an Apple who, if the price is right, be willing to share the love to other companies.
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