I have to say that I find it remarkable that they managed to tie the AT&T provisioning system (something that, in most operators, is a sacrosanct piece of their IT infrastructure that is kept under very tight control) into iTunes.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if the tight integration with iTunes wasn’t what spawned the last bout of Apple MVNO rumors – after all, those hooks would have to trigger a number of basic mobile provisioning tasks – although nobody will probably know for certain.
And, I suppose, preserve the traditional Apple “out-of-the-box experience magic” – after all, who doesn’t like to open their toys at home instead of in a crowded store?
For me, the iPhone has officially crossed over from being just a device paradigm to being a service paradigm.
After all, there is a difference between being just another phone that plays music and videos (regardless of how “revolutionary” – my quotes – the UI is), and having an integrated activation experience.
Although I do wonder who “owns” the customer, and how both companies decided to handle that – and CRM, which is the most important thing post-activation.
Okay, now I’m interested.