This week we're hearing word that Apple may well be setting up shop inside the year 2012 for their own wireless service across the USA for the likes of the iPhone and iPad. This is not the first we've heard that Apple will be offering mobile data services themselves, the company long not in a position to consider such a possibility for their undeniably popular mobile devices, but as wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein notes this week, they're coming up on a crossroads. Will you be paying Apple for every component of your iPhone in the very near future?
Apple currently has more than a massive 250 million credit card numbers on file through iTunes, and iTunes has the ability to take payments just as easily as any mobile carrier in the United States today. The difference is that groups like Verizon and T-Mobile own their own spectrum. Apple would have to either have plans in place to purchase spectrum or would have had to already have purchased spectrum to make this work inside 2012 - and that's not news you can easily keep under wraps.
"The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover. Google will have to scramble because it lacks retail distribution, experience with subscriber services and the iTunes ecosystem of content. iTunes and the iTunes Store provide Apple with one-click buying and customer care. Google can acquire most of these capabilities, as it has before, but it is not a core competency of the company." - Bluestein
Handset subsidies payed by mobile operators like AT&T have been holding Apple back thus far, so says Bluestein, but we must imagine there's more to it than that. If it's a matter of money, Apple certainly has it handled. Apple also has been tipped to be side-stepping carriers in the near future with Nano-SIM cards that are embedded inside the iPhone, with voice, data, and roaming sold via iTunes all in one bill.
Will Apple surprise us all, again, with the release of the iPhone 5 complete with Apple-held data plan in 2012? We shall see!