January is an important month; not only because it marks the start of a new year, but because it is also rumored to be when the iPhone 4 will make its debut on the Verizon network. However, the fact that this is only mere possibility and is not factuality is, well, freaking insane!
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: it turns out that those “copycats” (i.e., iPhone imitators) have some staying power. They are no longer weak: Android is growing, Windows Phone 7 is entering, and Blackberry is (barely) regrouping. They all smell blood; the iPhone is their primary target. There is no mercy in the high-tech industry.
But it was to be expected. Nothing lasts forever. It could all come down crumbling as a result of one simple afterthought. In the world of technology, this isn’t just a subliminal message or thought — this is Law. Apple’s afterthought with the iPhone could be the prolonged exclusivity with AT&T — wherein Apple and AT&T agreed that the iPhone would only work on AT&T’s network.
But someone gave us those wonderful people called lawyers; they are the ones that find ways to find loopholes in laws. Many had speculated that there was a five-year deal that was to keep the iPhone on AT&T’s network; it turned out to be true. There was a deal in place, and while the exact terms of the deal might never be known, the fact remains that AT&T should have the iPhone until 2012. But contracts were made to be, err, broken?
There is a thin line between integrity (i.e., honoring contracts) and stupidity (i.e., allowing the competition to takeover). As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter how much money (or integrity) it will cost Apple to break its exclusivity with AT&T: it must be done. (Begrudgingly, I feel that Apple should probably owe AT&T something for the impending ass-kicking AT&T will eventually receive from Verizon if this does happen.)
Waiting for LTE
Assuming that Apple does actually pay for the freedom to put its flagship device in the hands of Verizon subscribers, it would make sense for Apple to put the iPhone in their hands as soon as possible. Why wait? It makes no sense! Yet some people have the nerve to bicker on about how Apple should wait — they insist that the iPhone should be reserved until Verizon’s LTE network is better deployed. Nonsense! Do you know who isn’t waiting around for that? Everyone else!
Not only that, but the everyday consumer doesn’t care about 3G this versus 4G that. What does it even mean to them? Well, I should know — I have tried to explain this very difference to several people who aren’t exactly tech-savvy like myself (which includes most of the human world) — and the answer is that they don’t know, nor do they really care. The speeds for many of them are “fast enough.” They just want to be reassured that they will be able to use their device in a reliable manner; last time I heard, AT&T isn’t doing so well in that department.
Apple might have had to have signed that exclusivity agreement with AT&T to have a chance to get the product off the ground, and they might have had to agree to those terms for all those years, while the competition began to build up amidst archaic restrictions. But it’s coming back to haunt the company. It has opened the door for the likes of Google and other phone manufacturers to come in and steal the iPhone’s spotlight.
Time To Act
One thing is for sure, though: if Apple doesn’t get the iPhone on the Verizon network in 2011, that whole 2012-end-of-world thing is damn sure to come true — that is how confident I am that this is going to happen. It has to!
Apple no longer has the foothold that it once had in the past. Contrary to popular belief, the iPhone isn’t invincible. So the sooner Apple puts the iPhone in the hands of Verizon customers, the better off Apple will be. You don’t even need to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
So stop playing games, Apple. Make it happen already!