YOU are correct. What I was trying to say is that "phone design" was separated from the carrier. From what I remember, I think Apple originally when to Verizon, but Verizon said "No, we want control of how the phone operates, features, etc" ATT was approached next and agreed that Apple would have 100% control of design of the device partially because Apple could bring such a highly demanded product to a carrier. I have to admit, the phone was revolutionaly from "almost" everything before it.
It is similar to a situation where Apple goes to Comcast and says they want to build the next Set Top Box, but Comcast gets no control over any of the design and functional aspects for the box. It would be a win for Apple, and a win for the consumers.