Something fishy is afoot. One thing I neglected to mention in my overview of the 3G iPhone is that the notorious revenue-sharing deal between AT&T and Apple is no more. (Up to this point, it was speculated that AT&T was giving Apple a monthly payment for each iPhone subscriber.)
So...why is AT&T still the exclusive provider of the iPhone? What's Apple's incentive to stay with them? Seems like a raw deal for Apple because they're still severely limited as to their potential market.
Don Reisinger over at CNET speculates the relationship between the two companies may be over in the relatively near future. He has some good points, so check out the article.
My speculation is that the (rumored) five-year contract isn't quite that long. In fact, I wonder if maybe the contract wasn't based on length of time, but quantity of phones sold. A wacky idea, I know. But it may explain a couple of things:
1. AT&T would be reassured in the beginning that they'd have a guaranteed number of new subscribers from this unprecedented arrangement.
2. AT&T says it will only gives kick-backs for the first year. Apple doesn't hit the 10 million mark in that time frame, so they lower the price and make it more difficult to unlock the phone so they can hit the target number and get out.
For what it's worth, I think T-Mobile may get the iPhone before Verizon (despite the larger Verizon customer base) simply because the hardware is ready to go. CDMA phones suck a lot more juice than their GSM counterparts, something Apple will have to address, especially if a CDMA phone is going to be using 3G and GPS.
Absurd? Possible? Likely? "You're a freak and should write about something else"? Sound off in the comments.