Apple may help users bypass the difficult options from service providers by giving them the proper information themselves.
Apple Insider has now discovered a new patent application called Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Device Wit Multiple Service Providers. With this Apple would work with people who purchase the iPhone to find the service provider that has the right plan for them, instead of having people just blindly sign with one or the other. This makes perfect sense now that the Verizon iPhone is standard and with rumors circling that the iPhone will be brought to T-Mobile shortly. This would then let users compare the plans, looking at what offers are best for their specific needs, and then choosing a service provider from that.
This would require an open SIM card standard, which was a rumor last year and brought outrage from service providers. There were even several threats from European carriers to drop the subsidies for the iPhone if this was the case. Apple is likely going to wait until the iPhone is such an indispensible device in the smart phone market that they can risk problems with the service providers, but it may end up making the device more appealing to users.
The basic notion now shows us that a universal world wide iPhone may be released soon, capable of latching onto any service provider. This may make it easier to go international, switch providers with the same phone, and generally make things easier. Companies like Verizon, who are cutting back the benefits to employees and forcing a strike, may find this as another blow to their profit margin, but if it attracts more iPhone users it may be better in the long run.