Steve Jobs isn’t stupid. He knows that AT&T Wireless sucks. So why lock the revolutionary iPhone into a crappy network?

Because Jobs knows that everyone will buy an iPhone anyway, even if they hate the network. And that, as Umair points out, shifts all the power to Apple.

Apple will significantly improve the already revolutionary iPhone in subsequent generations, and lower the price, as they did with the iPod. With each new release, more and more people will look at Verizon and Sprint, who don’t carry the iPhone, and say, WTF!?

The real battle for control is between Verizon, which has hands down the best network, and Apple, which now has hands down the best handset. The tide will turn when die hard Verizon customers start switching in significant numbers to AT&T to get an iPhone. People like me, who stood firm on the network is more important principle, will crack under the pressure. There will come a tipping point, then, when the cost to Verizon of refusing Apple’s terms will be greater than losing customers to the iPhone.

What Apple really wants is to sell unlocked iPhones that can be used on any network — and I believe they will pull it off. Thus, Apple will do to the wireless carriers and other cell phone makers what they did to the music industry and makers of digital music players — they will completely take over.

From there, Apple will turn its attention to the last great battle — PCs. Once you own both an iPod and an iPhone, you’re going to look at your Windows PC and ask yourself — what am I thinking?