Always keen on thinking outside the box, and more importantly, lessening Apple’s reliance on third parties, Steve Jobs in the mid-2000’s contemplating the possibility of delivering an iPhone that completely bypassed the carriers. In other words, Jobs was actively exploring the notion of creating a network exclusively for the iPhone using the unlicensed spectrum used by Wi-Fi networks as opposed to the spectrum used by mobile carriers.
The news comes courtesy of John Stanton who revealed this interesting piece of information during a Law Seminars International event in Seattle.
Stanton, currently chairman at venture capital firm Trilogy Partnership, said he spent a fair amount of time with Jobs between 2005 and 2007. “He wanted to replace carriers,” Stanton said of Jobs, the Apple founder and CEO who passed away recently after a battle with cancer. “He and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum. That was part of his vision.”
With no practical way to skirt around mobile carriers, Jobs eventually gave up on the idea in 2007. In fairness, this is likely just one of many ideas Jobs and Apple explored that never came to fruition. We do think, though, that it’s a good example which illustrates the lengths to which Jobs would go to completely avoid relying on third parties when it came to controlling the user experience.
And to be fair, Jobs would subsequently state on a number of occasions that Apple had to learn a ton about cellular technology from AT&T and that there are areas in that regard where Apple is admittedly deficient.