Behind the Scenes of the Apple-AT&T Relationship [Updated]

115659 apple att logos 150

ZDNet reports on a new feature article in the August 2010 issue of Wired discussing the relationship between Apple and AT&T and how the success of the iPhone has enabled the partnership to continue despite each company's faults. While the full article is not yet available online, ZDNet's summary provides some interesting details.

Apple and AT&T fell in love and quickly got hitched. Then after the honeymoon was over they started noticing each other's faults. Apple was staunch and unwilling to restrict the iPhone's Internet access, AT&T couldn't build its network out fast enough to accomodate them. Then came the finger pointing. But the two couldn't divorce, for the the sake of the kids. So they ended up tolerating each other, for the time being.

The report points to Apple's choice of Infineon for the cellular communication hardware in the original iPhone as an example of the tensions between the two companies. Infineon had traditionally been focused on the European market where cellular towers are located more closely together than they typically are in the U.S. But when AT&T asked Apple to work together on making Infineon's hardware in the iPhone work better with AT&T's U.S.-style cell site configurations, Apple reportedly declined, saying "No, you resolve them. They're not our problem. They're your problem."

An Apple source also indicated to Wired that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has suggested at a least half a dozen times that the company consider dropping AT&T for another carrier. Apple's team went as far as visiting Qualcomm's facilities in late 2007 to investigate the possibility of switching the iPhone over to Verizon's network, but size difference between the chips used for the different carrier technologies would have meant a significant redesign for the iPhone, something the company was unwilling to undertake given other possible issues with the move.

Apple also heavily considered switching to Verizon numerous times. Around the end of 2007, at Jobs' behest, Apple engineers (including Scott Forstall) visited the headquarters of Qualcomm - the primary supplier of the chips in Verizon's phones. It concluded that switching to Verizon would be too complicated and expensive because the chips were different sizes and would necessitate rebuilding the iPhone from scratch. Apple also wasn't convinced that Verizon's network would fare much better and let's not forget the nasty lawsuit that voiding its exclusive pact with AT&T would invite.

Interestingly, the Wired article also suggests that a hybrid chip from Qualcomm capable of running on both Verizon's CDMA2000 network and the UMTS network of existing iPhone carrier partners previously rumored for the iPhone is the result of a partnership seeing Qualcomm working with Apple on the chip.

The most recent rumor regarding a Verizon iPhone comes from Bloomberg, which late last month cited sources claiming a January 2011 launch for the device.

Update: The Wired feature article has now been posted.

Top Stories

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
iPad Pro Feature

Early M1 iPad Pro Orders Now Preparing to Ship

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
Apple will soon ship out 11 and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro models, according to multiple Twitter users and MacRumors readers who have seen their orders shift to "Preparing to Ship" status. So far, we haven't seen any shipment notifications, but that's the next step and is likely to happen in the near future. Apple has not provided an exact delivery date to those who ordered a new M1 iPad Pro, but ...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
macos big sur ios 14 iphone 12 pro macbook air icloud drive desktop documents hero

Apple Merging 'iCloud Documents and Data' Service With iCloud Drive in May 2022

Tuesday May 11, 2021 2:36 am PDT by
Apple plans to merge its iCloud Documents and Data service with iCloud Drive starting in May of 2022, according to a support document published late last week (via MacGeneration). iCloud Drive and iCloud Documents and Data share the fundamental ability to backup data from apps. However, iCloud Documents and Data was often a cumbersome, confusing experience. In contrast, iCloud Drive is more...