From a ZDNet story on Apple’s relationship with Australian carrier Telstra, quoting CEO David Tholey:
“We are Apple’s largest customer in Australia, yet with Apple we are still working through some areas in how to work.”
There you go. He thinks his carrier is Apple’s customer. Thus the conflict, because Apple treats iPhone owners as its customers.
For every other phone manufacturer, the wireless carrier is their customer. But not Apple. And that makes all the difference.
That difference may be what changes the current paradigm, making Apple even more an integral part of our world.
Apple has made a lot of noise about not wanting to let companies control its future plans and destiny. It cut off Adobe Flash because of Jobs did not want them to have too much say in the direction of Apple.
How much more does Apple hate the control the carriers try and place on Apple’s future? That is why I think Apple is working to make carriers largely irrelevant for its future. Just as they are working on AppleTV to lower the hold that cable and others hold over Apple’s future, they are working towards the same thing with cell phones.
Combine White-fi networks and the huge server farm Apple has built and you have a pretty potent route around the carriers.