If we get information about upcoming products from support staff, we almost immediately disregard it, but if someone in the position of CEO at a major carrier starts to talk a bit about rumors, we immediately tune in. If anyone at Orange would be in-the-know about the next iPhone, it would likely be Stephane Richard. That is, if Apple feels he needs to know, which he may not.

Ina Fried of All Things Digital fame had a nice interview with the Orange CEO, and he also managed to get some golden nuggets from the executive. In addition to getting the CEO to announce that Apple created the smartphone market, and that Orange was more in favor of a carrier curated App Store, he also dropped some awesome rumors on the next iPhone.

But first, Richard’s thoughts on the App Store:

Everybody is talking about Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is not only dealing with pipes. It also deals with management of application shops. If you have people like Apple managing their application store and saying “This is OK and I don’t want to see this app in my shop,” it’s a problem.

What’s ironic is that carriers have been notoriously strong-handed when it comes to applications running on their network, especially in the US. It wasn’t Apple that stopped Hotspot, tethering, and MMS — it was the carriers. How do I know this? MMS and tethering was available in Canada almost immediately after announcement.

Clearly what Richard means to say is that there won’t be a problem so long as Apple plays ball with them. Should Apple approve an application that they don’t want on their network, they’ll head to court. Richard was clearly spinning the story in a positive light for the carriers. Something tells me Orange doesn’t care about fart apps getting approved for phones on their network, but that Hotspot app, that could be a major problem.

The problem isn’t what Apple doesn’t approve. At this point it’s what Apple does approve. That’s a whole different kettle of fish. The carriers don’t like the influence that Apple has over the network, and that’s why they prefer a carrier curated App Store, despite what Richard said. Don’t be fooled — this is about what Apple does approve, not what they don’t approve.

On to the rumor

According to Richard, the next iPhone will be smaller and thinner, and Apple’s been looking for ways to integrate smaller SIM-chips so that they can save precious real-estate in their new design. “I understood that the next iPhone would be smaller and thinner and they are definitely seeking some space,” said Richard.

But, don’t expect that e-SIM project that was patented not too long ago to make a debut at any point in the near future. According to Richard, a SIM-less world would make it impossible for carriers to manage customer relationships.

What Richard fails to realize is that most of us would be fine without carriers managing customer relationships It’s not like they’re out there screwing customers over every chance they get. Right?

Article Via All Things D

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