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Jobs: There 'might be' an advantage to a multi-carrier US iPhone

Steve Jobs admitted Tuesday that there "might be" an advantage to having more than one carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., but stopped short of suggesting that such a move could happen anytime soon.

Jobs was questioned about the network performance of AT&T at the opening interview for the All Things D conference held Tuesday. While he said that AT&T is doing "pretty good" in improving its network, he also admitted that the exclusive wireless carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. "could do better" in other respects.

Jobs revealed that Apple and AT&T executives meet once a quarter to discuss issues. He also noted that AT&T deals with "way more data traffic than anyone else."

"They're having trouble," he conceded. "But they have the fastest 3G network and they're improving. I wish they were improving faster."

He said that if the iPhone were on any other network, that carrier would have experienced the same problems. Mossberg then asked Jobs directly if there would be advantages to having other carriers in the U.S., to which he cryptically responded, "there might be." But when pressed as to whether the iPhone would become available on other domestic carriers in the near future, Jobs said: "You know I can't comment on that."

Jobs also revealed that the iPhone OS started on a tablet first. He said he had an idea about a device with a glass, multi-touch display that users could type on. After six months, Apple's engineers and designers came back with an "amazing display," and one of the company's "brilliant UI guys" created some features like inertial scrolling. From there, Jobs said he realized Apple could create a phone with the technology, and put the idea of a tablet aside to create the iPhone.