Could the Location Data Thing be About a Future Apple Cellular Network?

Earlier today, Apple released a big Q&A going over the ins and outs of the location data present on iPhones.

This tidbit is interesting:

What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?

Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.

So what does “an improved traffic service” look like?

Well, rumors have been floating around for years that one day, Apple could run its own cellular network.

Which would be insane.

A Brief Sidebar on the Issue of Control

Apple loves having each detail in the palm of its hand. Bringing hardware and software together is what makes Apple products work so well.

I’m sure there are some at Apple who die a little inside when they have to hand over a product like the iPhone or iPad 3G to cellular carriers. No matter what Apple does in software, or how pretty its hardware is, the carriers have the last say in how well the device works in the real world.

Which is pretty un-Apple.

So, Apple Wireless?

Building a new cell network from scratch seems pretty impossible at this point, at least in the US.[1. If Apple were to control a cell network, I don’t see it being international.] But what if Apple bought someone.

Someone like Sprint.

Right now, Verizon and AT&T are the big dogs. AT&T is currently trying to acquire T-Mobile, which would allow the company to surpass Verizon in terms of size and number of customers. While Sprint is small, its infrastructure seems sound. Plus, Apple has the cash to pull this off.

Sprint is moving into the 4G space faster than AT&T. Verizon’s LTE is rolling out this year, and will be bigger than Sprint’s by 2012, from the way things look.

The Part Where I Doubt my Entire Article Out Loud

Entering the wireless space would be a giant shift for Apple, without a doubt. Could the company handle purchasing another corporation the size of Sprint? How would management work between the two companies?

Would the FCC allow a network to be controlled by a phone manufacturer. Would customers be willing to go to an all-Apple solution?

Maybe we’ll know “in the next couple of years.”