updated 12:45 pm EDT, Tue September 9, 2008
Carrier iPhone apps?
Apple is opening itself up to the idea of allowing carrier-specific applications on iPhones, claims the global director of terminals for Vodafone. Jens Schulte-Bockum says that Vodafone Italy is collaborating with Apple on a tentative "portal experience," which would be delivered through iTunes' App Store. Apple has traditionally resisted any form of carrier-specific branding in its products, to the extent that carriers are scarcely mentioned on its websites or in phone interfaces.
Tony Cripps, an analyst at Ovum, notes that although Apple may be loosening its restrictions, and portals may be in the works for other countries, there is no guarantee that Apple will permit every app a carrier wants. It is unlikely, Cripps suggests, that carriers will be allowed to produce anything that could compete with iTunes for instance, as is common on non-Apple phones. The carriers may however be interested in pushing as far as they can, because an increasing amount of sales through iTunes risks damaging the profits of their own storefronts.