As of now, whenever a person decides to buy an iPhone, he or she will have to manually compare the prices and features of the competing service providers. However, this process is expensive and time consuming. Moreover, given the complexity of all the packages available on the market right now, it is very difficult to make a proper informed choice, unless you have an intimate knowledge of the products available. Hence, most people stick to their existing service providers or just opt for the one with the coolest ads. More dedicated users will try browsing the internet to find an honest review or guide to choosing the best possible service provider. Fortunately, Apple seems to be serious about making the lives of consumers easier in the future by allowing them to compare and contrast difference service plans right from their iPhone.

This week AppleInsider came across a new patent publication that was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, which was entitled “Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Communication Device with Multiple Service Providers.”  This would maintain a particular set of service configuration profiles on the iPhone. The app would allow users to find the best service plan based on their needs.

Interestingly, Apple was exploring the concept early on but backed away after strong protests by service providers who claim that such a service would reduce their ability to effectively market their service plans.

Pessimists argue that such a service, even if it become viable will not be rolled out any time soon. However, recent reports suggest that Apple is more concerned in capturing more markets than appeasing different service providers.  In addition, different service providers have to shift different versions of the iPhone and this increases the overall manufacturing cost. Hence, Apple’s keenness to promote a standard version of the iPhone that will be compatible across different carriers.

Perhaps Apple’s top management has realized that the iPhone has gained a good enough reputation to be released to multiple service providers. The exclusivity of the iPhone served its brand image well early on when it was still trying to prove itself, but now with the rise of Android, Apple needs to start changing its strategy. If this service is rolled out as planned, the iPhone may be exposed to millions of additional users while reducing the overall production cost. For Apple, this maybe the magic formula it needs to stay on top.