Perhaps Steve Jobs’s most significant feat was somehow persuading AT&T to let Apple design the iPhone — both its software and hardware — without even letting the carrier touch it.
That was a break from the old tradition, in which carriers issued specific instructions to manufacturers and software makers about what would be on a phone. By asserting its authority over the iPhone, Apple was able to design a handset for the customer, not the carrier.
An often overlooked but key component to the iPhone’s success
(Source: The New York Times)