So much for that

You might not know it, but there's a war going on. No, not Afghanistan or Iraq, something far less serious, but significant nonetheless. Y'see, there's a war going on between smartphone manufacturers and networks.

For years, the two have existed in a marriage of convenience. Networks heavily subsidise mobile phones to win customers, making high-end smartphones much more affordable for consumers. In exchange, networks make lots of money out of calls, texts, ringtones, software and other extras.

Except that now, technology is putting more and more pressure on this relationship. Software like Skype and Google Voice is undermining people's use of their calls and texts, and things like ringtones are normally sold through manufacturer's app stores. The networks are trying not to turn into a 'dumb pipe,' just providing data at the lowest possible cost like home broadband providers do.

Hence this network rebellion over Apple's plans for the next iPhone to have an integrated SIM card. Right now, the iPhone is like most other phones in that it has a changeable, pull-out SIM card carrying its network connection. That means it's hard to sell the phone independent of carrier, as you need a SIM to work it.

But last week it was reported that the new 'integrated' SIM, effectively invisible to users, would enable Apple to take over the activation of new iPhones completely through iTunes. Users could possibly even change networks through iTunes. This appears to have freaked the networks out completely, for, according to the Telegraph, Apple have given up on the idea after networks complained loudly. Apparently a source at a mobile operator said: 'Apple has long been trying to build closer and closer relationships and cut out the operators. But this time they have been sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs.'

Dramatic stuff! Still, apparently Apple still plans to use an integrated SIM in the next iPad, so you know, it's horses for courses.

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