AT&T won't have its exclusive U.S. hold on the iPhone forever, and when it runs out, Verizon might be the most likely runner-up. Verizon does provide the best customer service, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey. But despite how much consumers may want a Verizon iPhone, it's really Apple's call to make, and right now, Apple just doesn't seem to need another U.S. carrier.
Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are already catching a lot of interest with e-readers. Is Apple missing an opportunity in this market? Perhaps. On the other hand, it might just be making its usual play in letting others fumble around with new device categories before turning that category on its head with something revolutionary. Or maybe it's already got a foot in the e-reader market.
Rumors are cropping up that Google is preparing to sell its own Gphone -- an Android handset using Google-branded hardware. There are some reasons to doubt it will happen, of course, but the possibility is intriguing. What would Google have to build to make something worthy of an iPhone fan's attention?
It's safe to say most Apple customers are satisfied living in the walled-off ecosystem that the company has created for products like the iPhone. Still, it's good to know that it is possible -- and relatively easy, even -- to bust through those walls if one should ever want to. The work of iPhone hackers is appreciated even by those who've never felt the jailbreak itch.